Can an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) Remove a Gallstone?

Can an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) Remove a Gallstone?

What are Gallstones and ERCP?

Gallstones are tiny, solid particles that can form in your gallbladder. They can vary in size and may cause intense pain when they block the bile duct.

One common method to remove gallstones is through a procedure known as Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP.

ERCP is a minimally invasive procedure performed by gastroenterologists. It involves using a special endoscope, a long, flexible tube with a camera at the tip.

This endoscope is inserted through your mouth and down into the small intestine to access the bile ducts.

Can an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) Remove a Gallstone?

Can an ERCP Remove a Gallstone?

ERCP can be used to both diagnose and treat gallstones in certain cases. Here’s how the process works:

  • Visualization: The endoscope allows the doctor to see the inside of your bile ducts and locate the gallstones.
  • Sphincterotomy: A small incision is made in the opening of the bile duct, which enables the gallstones to be extracted.
  • Balloon or Basket: Depending on the size and location of the gallstone, a balloon or basket may be used to grasp and remove it.
  • Stent Placement: In some instances, a stent might be inserted to keep the duct open, preventing future blockages.

After the Procedure

After ERCP, you’ll need some time to recover. You may experience mild discomfort, but most patients can go back to their regular activities within a day or two. Your doctor will provide post-procedure instructions to ensure a smooth recovery.


ERCP can be an effective way to remove gallstones, especially when they are small or located in accessible areas of the bile duct.

However, the suitability of ERCP for your specific case will be determined by your healthcare provider. They will assess your condition and discuss the most appropriate treatment options to alleviate your gallstone-related discomfort.

Always consult with a medical professional for personalized advice and guidance regarding your health.

Dr. Kailash Mishra
Director & Gastroenterologist Consultant
Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

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