This is an examination that enables the main bile duct, the common bile duct (which drains the hepatic bile ducts) and the duct of Wirsung (which drains the pancreas) to be visualised. A therapeutic procedure may be carried out with this examination (stone extraction, drainage, insertion of a stent, dilation of a narrowing).

Duration of the examination: 30-60 minutes.


Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an examination performed under general anaesthesia and involves inserting into the mouth a special endoscope with lateral vision (a duodenoscope). The bile ducts or the pancreatic duct are then opacified with a contrast agent under X-ray with a catheter inserted into the duodenal papilla, through which the main bile duct (the common bile duct) or the main pancreatic duct (the duct of Wirsung) drains.

ERCP can lead to therapeutic procedures such as sphincterotomy, extraction of a stone in the main bile duct, biopsies, dilation of a narrowing, drainage or insertion of a stent.

Preparation before the examination

From midnight, do not consume any solid food so that the upper part of the digestive tract does not contain any food residues during the examination. You have to have fasted for at least 6 hours for this examination. More specific recommendations will be provided by the anaesthetist in charge during the examination.