Radiology Terms


What is Cholangiopancreatography? Understanding Imaging Techniques and Applications

Cholangiopancreatography is an imaging test that takes detailed images of the bile ducts, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. There are two varieties of this test: endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP).

For ERCP, the procedure uses an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera and light, passed from the mouth into the small intestine to view and take pictures of the pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, and liver. A special dye (contrast media) is injected after the endoscope is in place, to help the doctor visualize the organs with X-rays. Clinicians can sometimes open up blockages or take biopsies using the endoscope during the test.

MRCP uses a special type of MRI scan to produce detailed images of the pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, and liver.

These tests are used to diagnose and treat problems with the bile and pancreatic ducts when patients may have gastrointestinal conditions such as pancreatitis, gallstones stuck in the bile duct, or pancreatic/bile duct tumors.