What is a Therapeutic ERCP?
ERCP is an examination of the ducts that drain the pancreas and liver. Importantly, ducts work as drainage routes that are connected to the upper bowel. The ducts that drain the gallbladder and liver are known as biliary or bile ducts. Similarly, the duct that drains the pancreas is known as the pancreatic duct. The pancreatic and bile ducts are joined together before they drain into the bowel, around 3 inches away from the stomach. The opening of the drainage is called the papilla. Importantly, there is a circular muscle that surrounds the papilla, which is known as the sphincter of Oddi.
Therapeutic ERC is when the stomach doctor injects the X-ray contrast dye into the pancreatic duct, the bile duct, or both. The contrast dye is placed in a small tube that is known as a catheter. This catheter is then fitted through the ERCO endoscope. Next, the doctor takes X-rays during the procedure that would then help in examining the ducts. It is important to note that ERCPs are used for medical treatments and not only for taking pictures.
What Treatments Can be Done with the Help of an ERCP Scope?
Sphincterotomy ERCP is the process of cutting the surrounding muscle of the opening of the papilla, or the ducts. Notably, the cut is made for the enlargement of the opening. The doctor makes the cut while looking at the papilla or duct opening through the ERCP scope. The issue is cut through electric current, which is produced by a small wire on a distinctive catheter.
- Stone Removal
Another medical treatment done with the help of an ECRP scope is bile duct stone removal. These stones are usually formed in the gallbladder and then travel into the bile ducts. Also, these stones can be formed in the ducts themselves even years after removing the gallbladder. Once a sphincterotomy is performed for enlarging the opening of the bile ducts, these stones can be pulled from the duct into the upper bowel.
Essentially, a number of baskets and balloons that can be attached to distinctive catheters are passed through an ERCP scope into the ducts. This way, the bile ducts can be removed easily. If the stones are large in size, they are crushed in the ducts with the help of a specialized basket. After that, the fragments are pulled out with the help of the sphincterotomy ERCP procedure.
- Stent Placement
procedure, stents are placed into the pancreatic ducts or bile ducts for bypassing narrowing parts of the ducts, or strictures. Notably, these narrowed areas of the pancreatic duct or bile ducts occur due to tumors or scar tissue that leads to blockage of normal duct drainage.
Furthermore, two types of stents are mainly used for this procedure. The first one is made of plastic and has the shape of a straw. This plastic stent can be passed through the ERCP scope into the duct that is blocked. The second one is made of metal wires and has the shape of a cross wire of a fence.