During an ERCP, the doctor uses a special narrow, flexible tube (endoscope) that has a video camera. While the child is asleep, the tube is placed through the child’s mouth into the upper digestive system. Contrast dye with X-rays allow the doctor to see stones, abnormal narrowing or blockages in the ducts. To treat these problems, the doctor slides tiny surgical tools through the endoscope to treat the problems they find.
Sometimes the procedure is used only to diagnosis a problem. Most ERCP procedures involve treatment. Treatment can include:
- Sphincterotomy − an incision to increase the size of the opening of the pancreatic duct
- Stent placement − inserting a temporary, small, plastic tube within the duct to make sure that drainage can happen
- Stone extraction − used to clear the ducts of stones
- Stricture dilation − used to stretch or expand an area where the duct is abnormally narrow or small
ERCP can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, depending on the type of treatment needed.
After the procedure the doctor will talk with families. They will discuss what was found, the treatment that was done, and answer any questions. The doctor will talk about anticipated recovery time and future plan of care, which may include the need for a repeat ERCP.