ERCP stands for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography. It can help to diagnose and/or treat conditions affecting your liver, pancreatic and bile ducts, pancreas or gallbladder.
What is an ERCP procedure?
An ERCP procedure uses a flexible tube with a camera and light at the end called an endoscope. Your doctor passes the endoscope down your throat to take X-rays of your pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts. They inject some dye that shows up on X-rays and they look at the pictures on a TV monitor.
What is an ERCP used for?
An ERCP is used to look for and sometimes treat any problems in your liver, gall bladder, pancreas, pancreatic and bile ducts. It helps your doctor find out what might be causing your symptoms.
The most common reasons an ERCP is used include:
- A blockage in your bile or pancreatic ducts. You may have jaundice when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow.
- Severe inflammation of your pancreas (chronic or acute pancreatitis).
- A lesion or tumour in the pancreas, gallbladder, or liver – an ERCP will help work out the type of lesion and how big a tumour is (the stage)
An ERCP can:
- Remove gallstones in your bile or pancreas duct
- Insert a stent into a narrowed or blocked bile or pancreatic duct.
- Take small samples of tissue for analysis (a biopsy).
How does ERCP remove gallstones?
ERCP is a procedure that can be used to remove gallstones from your bile or pancreatic duct.
A long, thin flexible tube with a camera at the end called an endoscope is passed through your mouth, down your throat, into your stomach, and into the top part of your small intestine.
The lower end of your bile duct is then widened using a small cut or an electrically heated wire. The gallstones are then collected in a small basket or balloon and removed or left to pass into your intestine and out of your body.
Sometimes a small supportive tube called a stent is permanently placed in your bile duct to help the bile and any remaining gallstones pass through.
What is the recovery process after an ERCP procedure?
It will take an hour or two to recover from your sedative. You can expect to go home the same day as your ERCP procedure and you will need someone to drive you.
We will let you know what was found during your ERCP and if treatment was performed or is required. We will also discuss any follow up you need and advice for going home.
For the first few hours, you may feel a bit bloated but this will pass. You may develop a sore throat, dry mouth and slight hoarseness. Gargling with salt water should help relieve this.
Typically, patients go back to work two days after their ERCP.
What is the cost of an ERCP procedure?
You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your ERCP procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. ERCP procedures are covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your ERCP procedure yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
- All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
- Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.
ERCP at Ramsay Health Care UK
Ramsay Health Care UK provides ERCP in a private, comfortable and calm hospital environment.
We have the latest equipment and expert care by consultant gastroenterologists and endoscopists who have extensive experience and skills. They will perform your ERCP, answer your questions, and explain the results of the investigation.
Many of our hospitals have dedicated endoscopy units that have the quality assurance of JAG accreditation. We offer flexible and convenient appointments without waiting lists. Ramsay Health Care UK have strict safety protocols that all of our hospitals follow to keep patients and staff safe.