Therapeutic ERCP – with insertion of biliary or pancreatic stent, sphincterotomy or stone extraction

Therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure to treat problems in your bile and pancreatic ducts, such as gallstones.

 It is carried out using an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube fitted with a small light and video camera, in combination with x-rays. Your hepatologist can use small tools passed through the endoscope to open blocked ducts, remove stones or tumours, or insert a stent – a small tube that holds open blocked bile or pancreatic ducts.  

Who is suitable for a therapeutic ERCP?

Your hepatologist may recommend a therapeutic ERCP to treat suspected problems of the liver, pancreas, gall bladder, or bile ducts. Common reasons for performing a therapeutic ERCP include: 

  • Gallstones in the bile or pancreas duct  
  • Pancreatitis – a swollen or damaged pancreas   
  • Tumour in the pancreas, gallbladder, or liver 
  • Infection. 

A therapeutic ERCP is sometimes performed alongside a sphincterotomy. This involves making a small cut in the papilla of Vater to enlarge the opening of the bile duct and/or pancreatic duct. This is done to improve the drainage or to remove stones in the ducts. 

What does a therapeutic ERCP involve?

A therapeutic ERCP takes about 1 hour. You can choose to have it under sedation or general anaesthetic. Your hepatologist will place the endoscope in the back of your mouth, before guiding it gently down to your stomach and small intestine. A special dye injected through the endoscope shows up on x-rays. This combination of video image from the endoscope and x-rays will provide your hepatologist with a detailed picture of how well your liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and bile ducts are working. Your doctor can also use small tools passed through the endoscope to open blocked ducts, remove stones or tumours, or insert a stent – a small tube that holds open blocked ducts.   

What can you do to prepare for a therapeutic ERCP?

Your consultant will discuss with you how you can prepare. You may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for a few hours before the procedure. 

What is the recovery period?

After a therapeutic ERCP, you will need to rest in hospital for a few hours, and possibly overnight. You may experience some bloating or nausea for a short time. You might also have a slightly sore throat when the anaesthetic wears off. This can last a day or two.  

Self-pay package

As well as working with all major insurance companies, we also welcome patients who wish to pay for themselves.

Below is an outline of our self-pay hospital package which includes tests, hospital stay and procedure. Please note: it does not include consultant fees, which may vary.   

Hospital package from £2,700 (day case) £3,320 (one night) 

Indicative consultant fees from £560 

  • Recovery time in the endoscopy suite  
  • Nursing 
  • Pre procedure bowel preparation if required.
  • Consultant consultation fee  
  • Post-op and discharge medication 
  • General anaesthetic if needed  
  • Artificial implants, including stents  
  • Neurophysiology, dietician, physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy 
  • Non-standard diagnostic and histology tests 
  • Any additional costs not specified in the package inclusions  

Our consultants

See all the gastroenterologists at Cromwell Hospital.

Why choose Cromwell Hospital?

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Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via email or telephone