Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
If gallstones are in the bile ducts, the doctor may use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to locate and remove the stones before or during gallbladder surgery.
During the procedure, your throat will be sprayed with a local anesthetic. You will be given medication through an IV to help you relax. Then, a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube (endoscope) connected to a computer and TV monitor will be passed through your mouth. The doctor will guide the endoscope through the stomach and into the small intestine. You may feel bloated during and after the procedure. Air is used to inflate the small intestine. The doctor then injects a special dye that temporarily stains the ducts in the biliary system. The affected bile duct is then located. An instrument on the endoscope is used to open the duct. The stone is then captured in a tiny basket and removed with the endoscope.
Occasionally, a person who has had a cholecystectomy is diagnosed with a gallstone in the bile ducts weeks, months, or even years after the surgery. The two-step ERCP procedure is usually successful in removing the stone.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you have:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/11/2012 -