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Has anyone had ERCP for gallstones?

By February 18, 2009 - 10:56am
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I have a gallstone that needs to be taken care of. I thought I was going to have to have my gallbladder out by laparoscopic surgery but a friend said

there is a procedure called ERCP that is even less invasive and might just remove the gallstone. Has anyone had this and how did it work for you? I read a little bit about it and am wondering if it's really easier than laparoscopy? And why can't they just take a gallstone out with laparoscopy (or can they?)

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EmpowHER Guest

I had my gallbladder removed laparascopically in August 2009 since there were lots stones in my gall bladder. It wasn't so bad - a couple of incisions here and there. I had jaundice and stones were blocking the ducts (damn those traveling stones) About 4-6 few weeks later, I had a major gallstone attack so we did an ERCP yesterday. They didn't find any stones, but did find some gallstone sludge so I may have passed it when I was violently ill a few days ago. I think if you have lots of stones, it might be best to remove the gallbladder through laparascopic surgery since you REALLY don't want a stone to travel down your ducts and blocking things...can cause crazier stuff - pancreatitis, liver diseases, etc.

October 30, 2009 - 3:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had ERCP surgery as I have gallstones and one of the stones went through the duct and lodged into my liver. The surgery was fine and pretty mild, however, I have had pancreas pain for the past 4 days now...I had the surgery 7 days ago. Can having ERCP surgery affect your pancreas?
PS I am having my gallbladder removed in 2 weeks time, thank goodness. So painful.

October 23, 2009 - 3:24pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You should get that checked out because ERCP can cause pancreatitis (inflamation of the pancreas) in some cases.

October 26, 2009 - 9:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

i had ERCP procedure back in Dec 08 to have a 1.5cm stone removed from the blocked bile duct, all were good. now July 09, I had a series of pain again in the past few days, i knew it was the stone again, then had jaudice, dark coloured eurine, and lost apitite. so went back to see the doctor and booked a ultrasound scan for next thursday, see what happens

July 3, 2009 - 10:09am
EmpowHER Guest

i work within the gastrointestinal field and work directly with the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. gallstones can be very painful and an ercp is the least invasive of the procedures to clear the stones or sludge. most often retained stones are in the common bile duct blocking bile from draining from the liver. the procedure does take anywhere from 15 minutes to multiple hours to clear the stones. in cases i have seen one stone up to 20 plus stones and boy do i feel good after assisting with the procedure because i know the patient is going to feel better, unless the pancreas is irritated by the extraction of the stones. i have had this procedure and do not remember a thing under the use of conscious sedation. proceed with the most noninvasive procedure first if it is unsuccessful then there are more options.

March 19, 2009 - 6:18am

Well, I just happened to be one of those rare cases that ended up with acute pancreatitis back in 1997 after seven years post gall bladder removal. It appears that a small gall stone was left behind during removal of my gall bladder in 1990. Over time, the stone grew to the point of blocking the pancreatic duct. Since I did not have my gall bladder anymore and I ended in the hospital with pancreatic enzimes through the roof and puzzled doctors! They diagnosed me with acute pancreatitis but th ultrasound showed stretching of the ducts which made doctors suspicious of stones without gall bladder (a rare situation by the way). The recommendation was to perform the ERCP to ensure there was nothing left. The procedure was pretty fast and I did not feel anything because you have to go under general anesthetic. There is always a risk like any other invasive procedure, but it needed to be done to ensure all debris and other stones were cleared from the pancreatic duct.

Best of luck!

February 18, 2009 - 11:44pm

Hey Patti, I think it's great you're researching procedures for gall stone removal as well as talking to your friends about it. While I haven't had gall bladder surgery, I have undergone a laparoscopy (for a different reason)and found the procedure very easy and was back to work the next day.

I did a little research of my own to assist with a few of your questions until someone shares her first-hand account. Laprascopy is different in that it requires and incision and Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP -- does not.

In ERCP, the patient swallows an endoscope that a physician guides down your throat, stomach and duoedum. The procedure is performed while a you lie on your left side on an examination table. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, you'll receive medication to numb the back of your throat as well as a sedative to help you relax during the exam.

Once the scope reaches the pancreas, you'll be asked to lie on your stomach so the doctor can insert a small plastic tube into the scope. The doctor will then inject a dye into the ducts and x-rays will be taken as soon as the dye is injected.

If the exam shows a gallstone or narrowing of the ducts, the doctor will then insert instruments into the scope to remove or relieve the obstruction. The procedure takes 30 minutes to two hours. You may also need to stay in the hospital for a few hours until the sedative wears off.

A third option is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) which is used to break up the stones but is only used in about 15 percent of the cases and on stones that are less than two centimeters (Source: University of Maryland Medical Center)

This is an even less-invasive procedure and requires the patient to sit in a tub of water. High-energy shock waves are directed through the abdominal wall toward the stones. Shock waves then travel through the soft tissues of the body and break up the stones which are passed through the bile duct and into the intestines.

Does this information help Patti? What does your doctor recommend?

February 18, 2009 - 4:32pm
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