ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) Specialist

Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates -  - Board Certified Gastroenterologist

Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates

Board Certified Gastroenterologists & Hepatologists located in Watkinsville, GA

If you experience gastrointestinal problems or you’re at risk of developing them, turn to board-certified gastroenterologist Minesh Mehta, MD, of Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates in Watkinsville, Georgia. Dr. Mehta offers endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to diagnose and treat specific GI problems. Call the office to learn more about ERCP or schedule an appointment online today.


What is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, also known as ERCP, is a procedure that combines X-rays with upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to diagnose and treat specific gastrointestinal issues you or a loved one may encounter.

Why might I need ERCP?

Dr. Mehta at Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates might recommend you undergo ERCP if you struggle with, or are at risk of, one or more of the following conditions:

  • Jaundice
  • Pancreas/pancreatic cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver problems
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Infections
  • Trauma to bile or pancreatic ducts
  • Surgical complications of bile or pancreatic ducts

Abnormal liver tests may also make ERCP necessary.

To find out if you’re a candidate for the procedure, Dr. Mehta checks your vital signs, reviews your medical history, completes a physical exam, and might order blood tests, urine tests, imaging procedures, or other diagnostic tests.

How should I prepare for ERCP?

To get ready for ERCP, follow all of Dr. Mehta’s instructions. He might ask you to avoid food, drinks, gum, and smoking the morning of your scheduled procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home afterward and stop taking certain medications if Dr. Mehta asks you to.

What should I expect during the procedure?

During ERCP, you receive a sedative to help you relax and feel comfortable. Your specialist gives you a liquid anesthetic to gargle or a special spray to numb your throat and reduce the risk of gagging.

While you lie on a comfortable examination table, Dr. Mehta feeds an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube, down your esophagus and through your stomach and part of your small intestine. 

He views the inside of your digestive tract using a tiny camera attached to the endoscope. Dr. Mehta might inject a special dye into a catheter attached to the endoscope to make X-ray images more visible. During the procedure, Dr. Mehta can:

  • Open narrowed or blocked ducts
  • Remove or break up stones
  • Complete tissue biopsies
  • Remove tumors
  • Insert stents

Many ERCP procedures take about 1-2 hours to complete, but every patient is different.

What happens after ERCP?

After undergoing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, you might stay in the surgery center for an hour or two while you relax and the anesthesia wears off. You could have to stay overnight in some cases. Have a friend or family member drive you home.

Expect a sore throat, bloating, or nausea, but these side effects are temporary. Get plenty of rest after your procedure and follow all post-care instructions. When your ability to swallow returns, you can eat a normal diet. Dr. Mehta discusses the results with you after ERCP and lets you know if you need further diagnostic testing or treatment.

To learn more about endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and find out if it’s right for you, call the Athens Digestive Healthcare Associates office or schedule an appointment online today.



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