Gallstones and ERCP: ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is a diagnostic procedure done to look for diseases of the bile ducts and pancreas. A flexible tube is put down the throat, through the stomach, and into the small intestine. The doctor can see through the tube and inject dye into the drainage tube (duct) of the pancreas or bile duct so that the area can be seen more clearly on an x-ray.
The ERCP test is comfortable as it is performed under intravenous sedation or with general anesthesia, and has a low incidence of complications.
ERCP can provide important information unobtainable by other diagnostic means. Therapeutic measures can often be taken at the time of ERCP to remove stones in the bile ducts or to relieve obstruction of the bile ducts, so that traditional open surgeries can be avoided.
ERCP is increasingly accepted as the diagnostic and therapeutic procedure of choice in identifying and removing gallstones from the bile ducts.