Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) provides the examination of the bile duct system and pancreas using the combination of a lighted flexible video endoscope and X-rays.
Endoscopic refers to the use of an instrument called an endoscope - a thin, flexible tube with a lighted optical lens.
Retrograde refers to the direction in which the endoscope is used to inject a liquid enabling X-rays to be taken of the parts of the GI tract called the bile duct system and pancreas.
The process of taking these X-rays is known as cholangiopancreatography. Cholangio refers to the bile duct system, pancrea to the pancreas.
ERCP may be useful in diagnosing and treating problems causing jaundice (a yellowing of the whites of the eyes) or pain in the abdomen. Importantly, this procedure allows intervention (such as for removal of stones, placement of stent) to alleviate symptoms.
Indications for the procedure include problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas.