This procedure (short for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is used to diagnose and, in some cases, treat problems of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. A flexible endoscope, equipped with fiber optics, light and camera is passed through the esophagus and stomach to the duodenum where the bile and pancreatic ducts can be visualized. Dye can be injected into the ducts for x-rays and the procedure can also be used to remove gallstones from the bile duct and to relieve duct blockages. The procedure is performed with the patient lying down. The patient swallows the end of the endoscope, which is then passed through the remainder of the upper GI tract. The patient’s mouth and throat is anesthetized by spray or gargle and a IV sedative is given.
Preparation for the procedure includes fasting (no food or liquid) for at least 8 hours prior. After the procedure, the patient should not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours.
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