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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

Understanding endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

A flexible tube (duodenoscope) is advanced through your mouth, esophagus (food tube) and stomach into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine).  The ampulla (opening where the bile and pancreatic ducts empty into the small intestine) is then identified.  A small plastic tube is then passed through the duodenoscope into the ampulla.  X-ray dye is injected through the small tube and into the ducts.  Any necessary treatments can be done at this time.  This exam may help the doctor diagnose many diseases of the pancreas, bile ducts, liver and gall bladder.  The doctor is able to enlarge a bile duct opening, remove gallstones lodged in the bile duct, insert a drainage tube, or take small samples of tissue (biopsy).