Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) are two important medical tests. These medical procedures are used to diagnose and treat problems in the bile and pancreatic ducts. Some of them are:
- Acute or chronic pancreatitis
For an ERCP, an X-ray and an endoscope are used to produce images of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Notably, it is known to be a gold-standard method for diagnosing and treating issues in bile ducts and pancreatic ducts. However, the ERCP procedure is known to be invasive and can give rise to various health complications.
As for MRCP, it is a type of magnetic resonance imaging or MRI technique. For this medical procedure, magnets and radio waves are used for producing images of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Unlike ERCP, this procedure is noninvasive and does not include the use of radiation.
How is Preparing for both of the Procedures Different?
Before you get ERCP or MRCP, the doctor will inquire about any possible allergies or medical conditions that you may have been experiencing. These factors can significantly increase the risk of complications associated with contrast dye, which is used during ERCP and in some MRCP tests for producing clearer images.
Depending on the risk factors, the doctor will be required to take extra precautions while planning the procedure.
Preparing for ERCP
Notably, the ERCP procedure includes sedatives. Hence, here are the preparations that you will be required to make:
- You will be required to stop taking medications for a short time if they can possibly interact with sedatives. Moreover, you may need to temporarily stop taking medications that deal with blood clotting.
- You will be required to ask a family member or friend to give you a ride back home after the ERCP test. You will be advised to not drive for at least 24 hours after getting done with the procedure.
- You will be required to avoid drinking, eating, smoking, or chewing gum eight hours prior to ERCP. This will allow the doctor to examine your gastrointestinal tract properly.
Preparing for MRCP
Since MRCP is not as invasive as ERCP, its preparation process is relatively less strict. You may need to do the following things to prepare for an MRCP:
Wear loose, comfortable clothes.
Take off all of your jewelry.
Communicate to your doctor if you have any implanted devices.
You may need to avoid drinking or eating for a few hours before getting the procedure done.
The Process of ERCP and MRCP
During both MRCP and ERCP surgery, you will be required to lie down on a table.
ECRP usually takes 1 to 2 hours and involves the following:
- You will be given an intravenous (IV) line of sedatives, which will help you relax.
- You will be given general or local anesthesia.
- An endoscope will be inserted in your mouth and down to the small intestine.
- The doctor will now locate the ducts and put a catheter into the endoscope until it gets to the ducts.