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Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

We use this procedure to diagnose and treat bile duct cancer, as well as some cancers of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

In an ERCP, we pass a long, flexible lighted tube (called an endoscope) down the patient's throat and into the first part of the small intestine. A catheter is then passed through the scope and a small amount of contrast dye is used to help outline the bile ducts as X-rays are taken.

This test allows us to remove samples of cells or fluid to be viewed under a microscope. It can also be used to relieve an obstruction of the bile duct, or to place a stent into a narrowed duct to help keep it open.