What is the role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the management of gallstones (cholelithiasis)?

Updated: Apr 01, 2019
  • Author: Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) permits radiographic imaging of the bile ducts. In this procedure, an endoscope is passed into the duodenum and the papilla of Vater is cannulated. Radiopaque liquid contrast is injected into the biliary ducts, providing excellent contrast on radiographic images. Stones in bile appear as filling defects in the opacified ducts. Currently, ERCP is usually performed in conjunction with endoscopic retrograde sphincterotomy and gallstone extraction. [19]


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