Department of Medicine

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

ERCP Equipment

The "endoscope" is a flexible tube with a tiny video camera and light on the end of it. The inner components of the scope consist of a channel through which tiny instruments and accessories are passed and can be poked out the tube's end. These instruments and accessories include a catheter for injecting contrast media ("dye") into the ducts, an inflatable balloon that is used to stretch tight areas of the bile duct or pancreatic duct, a "basket" for removing and manipulating stones, and a sphincterotome to incise tissue and make the bile duct or pancreatic duct opening larger, biopsy forceps and cytology brush to obtain microscopic exam, and stents to bridge blockages. Other openings allow the physician to squirt (or suck out) water or air into your intestine as well as clean the camera lens. The physician is able to control the movement of the tube by gently pushing and pulling on its outside end while also steering the inside end with control knobs that the physician holds in his hand. Images from the endoscope are transmitted onto a video television screen in the procedure room. Simultaneously, an x-ray image of the bile duct and pancreatic duct is obtained. X-ray films are taken to document the findings.