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.