Diagnostic ERCP – includes forceps biopsy

A diagnostic endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure used to investigate any problems in your bile and pancreatic ducts. 

It is carried out using an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube fitted with a small light and video camera, which in combination with x-rays will give your hepatologist a clear picture of how well your liver, gall bladder, bile and pancreatic ducts are working.       

Who is suitable for a diagnostic ERCP?

Your hepatologist may recommend a diagnostic ERCP to investigate suspected problems of the liver, pancreas, gall bladder, or bile ducts and to learn more about the causes of symptoms such as: 

  • Unexplained abdominal pain 
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) 
  • Abnormal results from a blood test, ultrasound or CT scan. 

 Your hepatologist may also carry out a diagnostic ERCP to investigate conditions such as gallstones, pancreatitis or tumours. They may take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) through the endoscope.       

What does a diagnostic ERCP involve? ​

An 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 take a small sample of tissue (biopsy).   

What can you do to prepare for a diagnostic 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 an 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 may also have a slightly sore throat when the local 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 £2,070 (daycase) and £2,860 (one night).

Indicative consultant fees from £450.

When enquiring about this package, please quote J4300.

  • Recovery time in the endoscopy suite  
  • Nursing 
  • Pre-procedure bowel preparation if required
  • Consultant consultation fee  
  • Post-op and discharge medication 
  • General anesthetic 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.