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ERCP Specialist

Arkansas Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center -  - Gastroenterology and Endoscopy

Arkansas Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center

Gastroenterology and Endoscopy located in Hot Springs, AR

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is one of the most effective ways to diagnose issues in your gallbladder, liver, pancreas, or bile ducts. At Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, experienced physicians John Brandt, MD, and J. Steven Mathews, MD, lead a team with 50 plus years of gastroenterology experience and use ERCP to identify the reason for your symptoms, so they can design an ideal treatment protocol for you. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online.


What is ERCP?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP is a combination procedure that uses X-ray imaging and an endoscope — a slender snakelike lighted tube — to identify gastrointestinal issues. This procedure reveals problems within the:

  • Gallbladder
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Bile ducts

ERCP sometimes includes treatment, like gallstone removal, as well. 

How does ERCP work?

ERCP is generally an outpatient procedure, but you may have this procedure as a hospital inpatient. The steps of ERCP include:

Sedation and anesthesia

You typically receive intravenous (IV) sedation before the procedure starts. Your doctor may also spray a numbing medication into the throat to prevent the gag reflex. 

Endoscope and catheter insertion

Then, your doctor inserts the endoscope, threading it carefully down your esophagus and into your stomach until reaching the first part of your small intestine, the duodenum. They thread a catheter, a slender tube, through the endoscope, down to the point of your bile ducts. 

Contrast dye injection and X-rays

Next, your doctor injects contrast dye directly into the bile ducts. This highlights the areas of concern on X-rays. They take a series of X-rays, so you may need to shift or change position a few times to capture all the images accurately. 

Depending on the situation, your doctor may take a small tissue sample for later analysis. If you have gallstones or other abnormalities, they may perform the correction on the spot. Then, they withdraw the endoscope, and your procedure is complete. 

How do I prepare for ERCP?

Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center provides you a list of preparation guidelines. You need to fast for a specified period ahead of ERCP, as your stomach must be empty to obtain clear images and maintain optimal safety. 

The team may instruct you to make some temporary medication changes, as well. They also review your history of medication reactions and allergies ahead of time to make sure you can have this procedure safely. 

What can I expect after ERCP?

After your ERCP, you spend a short time in a recovery room. While there, the team monitors your breathing, blood pressure, and pulse to make sure you're stable. Once you're alert and stable, you can generally return home, with someone else at the wheel. 

The team at Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center explains specific recovery guidelines after the procedure. In general, most patients rest for the remainder of the day and return to normal activity the next day.

Call Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center or use online scheduling to book your ERCP appointment.