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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP can be used both to diagnose and treat conditions in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. It involves using an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible telescope, with a tiny camera and light on the end. This is inserted through the mouth, down the throat into the stomach and allows doctors to inject dye through the tube to help the area to show up more clearly on the X-ray pictures (cholangiopancreatography) that are taken of the pancreatic and bile ducts.

As well as helping to diagnose conditions, ERCP can be used to treat problems such as gallstones, narrowings and tumours and can also be used to take biopsies. You will be asked to avoid food or drink for a period of time before the procedure and be given a sedative as well as local anaesthetic to numb the back of your throat. The procedure normally takes between thirty minutes and an hour to complete.