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What is ERCP How is it done & Things to Know About Before and After

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP) is a minimally invasive method used in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system diseases. This method is particularly effective in the diagnosis and treatment of problems in the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts. ERCP has become a more advantageous option compared to surgical interventions by offering less risk of complications and a faster recovery process for patients. In this article we have prepared for you, you can find answers to many questions you are curious about what ERCP is, how it is performed, in which cases it is applied, and what you need to know before and after this procedure.

What is ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography)?

ERCP is a procedure that allows visualization of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts with an endoscopic method. This procedure is performed by using a combination of X-ray and endoscopy techniques. A thin and flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through the patient’s mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to access the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts. In this way, abnormalities such as narrowings, obstructions, stones, and tumors in these areas can be detected and necessary interventions can be performed.

How is ERCP Performed?

The ERCP procedure is usually performed under sedation and the patient is not allowed to feel discomfort. During the procedure, the endoscope is advanced from the patient’s mouth to the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. A camera at the end of the endoscope allows the doctor to visualize the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts on the screen. During the procedure, contrast material is injected and X-ray images of these areas are taken. If necessary, interventions such as stone removal, stent placement, or biopsy can be performed using endoscopic instruments.

In which cases is ERCP performed?

ERCP is used to diagnose and treat the following problems in the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts:

  • Gallstones and obstructions
  • Bile duct narrowing
  • Pancreatic duct stones and obstructions
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Biliary tract and pancreatic cancers
  • Biliary leaks (bile duct leaks)
  • Evaluation of complications before and after liver, gallbladder, and pancreas surgery

ERCP is an important tool for accurate diagnosis and treatment. However, a successful and safe process should be ensured by following your doctor’s recommendations before and after the procedure.

Treatment of Diseases with ERCP

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an important endoscopic procedure used in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive system diseases. ERCP is an effective method, especially in the treatment of biliary tract and pancreatic diseases. Thanks to this procedure, the quality of life of patients can be improved and the need for surgical interventions can be reduced.

The diseases that can be treated with ERCP are as follows:

  • Gallstones: ERCP is used to diagnose and remove stones in the bile duct. With this procedure, the stones can be removed endoscopically and patients do not need surgery.
  • Bile duct strictures: ERCP can be used to diagnose and treat bile duct strictures. With this procedure, a stent is placed in the stenotic area to improve bile flow and improve the quality of life of patients.
  • Pancreatitis: ERCP can also be used in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatitis. With this procedure, stones or strictures caused by pancreatitis can be detected and treated.
  • Cholangitis: ERCP is also used in the diagnosis and treatment of biliary tract infections. With this procedure, stenosis or stones caused by infection can be detected and treated.
  • Pancreatic cancer: ERCP can also be used in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. With this procedure, blocked ducts can be opened to prevent the spread of cancerous cells and biopsies can be taken when necessary.

What should be done before ERCP?

Before the ERCP procedure, patients need to make some preparations. These preparations are as follows:

  • Fasting: Before the ERCP procedure, patients should fast for at least 6-8 hours. During this time, patients can only consume water.
  • Medication: Before the ERCP procedure, it is important for patients to inform their doctor about all medications they are taking. Some medications may increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. Therefore, you may be asked to temporarily stop the use of these medications if your doctor deems it necessary.
  • Allergies: If the patient has allergies to contrast media, latex, or medications, they should inform their doctor.
  • Radiation: Since radiation will be used during the ERCP procedure, it is important for pregnant patients to inform their doctor.

What are the Risks and Complications of ERCP?

Although the ERCP procedure is generally a safe and effective method, some risks and complications may occur. These risks are as follows:

  • Bleeding: During the ERCP procedure, bleeding may occur in the bile duct or pancreatic duct. This is usually caused by incisions or stent placement during the procedure.
  • Infection: Infection of the bile duct or pancreatic duct may occur during the ERCP procedure. This can usually be controlled with the use of antibiotics after the procedure.
  • Perforation: During the ERCP procedure, perforation or rupture of the digestive system organs may occur. This may require emergency surgical intervention.
  • Pancreatitis: After the ERCP procedure, some patients may develop acute pancreatitis. This can occur due to damage to the pancreatic duct during the procedure and can lead to serious complications.
  • Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions to contrast media or drugs used during the ERCP procedure may occur.

These risks and complications are minimized when ERCP is performed by an experienced endoscopist.

What are the conditions that may develop after ERCP and what should be done?

ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) is an endoscopic procedure performed to visualize and treat bile and pancreatic ducts. With this procedure, gallstones, obstructions, and some types of cancer can be diagnosed and treated. Although ERCP is generally a safe and effective procedure, some complications and conditions may develop afterward may occur. In this section, we will discuss the conditions that may develop after ERCP and how to deal with these conditions.

  • Pain and discomfort: After ERCP, most patients experience mild pain and discomfort at the site of the procedure. This usually goes away within a few days. If pain and discomfort persist, you can use painkillers in consultation with your doctor.
  • Infection: During the ERCP procedure, bacteria can get into the bile ducts or pancreatic ducts and there may be a risk of infection. Symptoms of infection include fever, chills, redness, swelling, and pain. If an infection develops, your doctor may recommend antibiotic treatment.
  • Bleeding During ERCP, bleeding may occur in the tissues through which the endoscope passes or in the area where the procedure is performed. Mild bleeding usually stops on its own. However, in cases of severe bleeding, your doctor may resort to additional treatments.
  • Pancreatitis: During the ERCP procedure, there is a risk of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. If pancreatitis develops, hospital treatment and fluid replacement may be required.
  • Perforation: In rare cases, tearing or perforation (perforation) of the tissues through which the endoscope passes can occur during the ERCP procedure. Perforation is a serious complication and may require urgent surgical intervention.

You can follow these steps to deal with situations that may develop after ERCP:

  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations: Your doctor will give you special instructions after the procedure. You can reduce the risk of complications by following these instructions carefully.
  • Follow the symptoms after the procedure: If you experience symptoms such as pain, fever, vomiting, bleeding, or swelling, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Rest during the healing process: Help your body recover by resting for a few days after the procedure.
  • Pay attention to your diet: Help your digestive system to function properly by following the diet recommended by your doctor after the procedure.

As a result, the conditions that may develop after ERCP are usually mild and temporary. However, when serious complications occur, it is important to contact your doctor immediately and apply appropriate treatment methods.

ERCP Treatment Prices in Türkiye

Türkiye has managed to announce its name to the world with its investments and studies in the field of health. Especially the latest technological devices used in diagnosis and treatment procedures have been a beacon of hope for many diseases. However, there has been an increase in health tourism in Türkiye.

  • Hospitals are large, clean, spacious and fully equipped in terms of technological equipment.
  • Turkish doctors are specialized, successful, and skilled in their fields.
  • Nurses and carers are friendly and compassionate.
  • Finding answers to the questions asked quickly and accurately.
  • Patience and understanding of all staff, including the intermediary company dealing with the patient.
  • Turkey offers holiday opportunities with its natural and historical beauties.
  • Easy transportation.
  • Diagnosis, treatment, accommodation, eating, drinking, dressing, and holiday needs can be met at affordable prices.

Such situations are shown among the reasons for preference. We can see that patients and relatives of patients who want to come to Türkiye are doing research.

. However, it would not be right to give clear price information at this stage. Many factors such as the type of disease, stage, diagnosis process, treatment process, and stay in Türkiye affect the price issue. If you want to get more detailed price information, you can contact us. In addition, if you come to Turkey for treatment through us, we can facilitate your visa application process with the invitation letter sent by us to the consulate.

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