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An endoscope, a flexible fiberoptic scope with a light, is inserted through the mouth into the duodenum. A catheter is advanced through the endoscope and inserted into the pancreatic or biliary ducts. A contrast agent is injected into these ducts and X-rays are taken to evaluate their caliber, length and course. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is performed to identify any narrowing, stones, or tumors in the pancreatic or biliary ducts.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.