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An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is a procedure that can be used to diagnose or treat conditions affecting the pancreas and bile ducts. During an ERCP, a small, thin tube is inserted through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the duodenum. A small amount of radiocontrast liquid is then injected and fluoroscopic imaging is used to reveal any stones, tumors or similar abnormalities that might be blocking a bile or pancreatic duct. Once a gastroenterologist has visually evaluated the patient’s situation, an appropriate treatment plan can be recommended and carried out.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we welcome patients who have any of a wide range of diagnoses, as well as those with undiagnosed gastrointestinal symptoms, to turn to us for expert testing and treatment. Our gastroenterologists may use an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography if one of the following diagnoses is suspected:

  • Bile duct cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer accompanied by bile duct obstruction and/or jaundice
  • Chronic pancreatitis or acute pancreatitis that is accompanied by bile duct obstruction
  • Obstructive jaundice
  • Chronic gallstones
  • Pancreatic fistulas or ascites

Moffitt's gastroenterologists might also perform an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to carry out several different treatments, if indicated by the results of a visual examination of the area. For instance, it is sometimes possible to remove gallstones, drain blocked bile ducts or stretch out strictures (abnormal areas of narrowing within the ducts) during an ERCP.

If, during a cholangiopancreatography, a potentially cancerous tumor is detected, a physician can remove a sample of the cells for further laboratory testing. Brush cytology, fine needle aspiration biopsies and intraductal biopsies can all be performed during an ERCP. If a cancer diagnosis is confirmed, additional treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery, may then be considered.

At Moffitt, patients can access a full spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic services in a single location, and referrals are never required. To request an appointment for an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or other type of gastrointestinal procedure, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.