ERCP: what is it, and how long does it last?

Written by: Dr Deepak Joshi
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Top Doctors recently had the pleasure of speaking with esteemed London-based consultant hepatologist, Dr Deepak Joshi, who, here in one of today’s articles, provides a comprehensive overview on all things endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

What is an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)?

It is an endoscopy of the bile duct, to either take a stone out, or to put either a plastic or metallic stent into the bile duct. We can also access the patient’s pancreas to remove stones or strictures.


How can patients prepare themselves for an ERCP?

Before any ERCP, the patient will be reviewed and assessed to see if the patient is suitable enough for the procedure. We will also carry out a blood test. In terms of the day of the procedure, the patient will not be able to eat not drink for six hours before their procedure. We perform the procedure under general anaesthetic.


How long does the procedure normally last?

It depends if we are taking out a small or large stone, but on average, it generally lasts between 45 and 60 minutes.


Is it a risky procedure?

There are some associated risks that patients may suffer from after undergoing an ERCP. The main ones include the following:


  • infection
  • small tear in gullet or stomach
  • bleeding
  • pancreatitis


What does the recovery period after an ERCP look like?

After the procedure, you may experience some mild discomfort in the abdomen, but usually this will have disappeared the day after the operation. Patients usually need one to two days before they get back to their normal daily activities, but nothing more than that.


Dr Deepak Joshi is a highly revered consultant hepatologist who is an expert when it comes to performing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures. Consult with him today via his Top Doctors profile to book an appointment with him.

By Dr Deepak Joshi
Hepatology (liver specialist)

Dr Deepak Joshi is a leading consultant hepatologist practising at private clinics in London. Dr Joshi specialises in liver disease, liver transplant, pancreatic diseases, bile duct diseases, and cirrhosis amongst others. At present, Dr Joshi is practising at the Guthrie Clinic, a part of King's College Hospital, the Institute of Liver Studies, and the London Liver Centre.

After qualifying in medicine from King's College in 2001, he went on to train in hepatology at the Institute of Liver Studies for five years, where he carried out a PhD researching into predictors of fibrosis in patients following a liver transplant. He further honed his skills in adult and paediatric endoscopy and ERCP whilst training at the reputable University College London Hospitals.

An active researcher in the hepatology field, he has published extensively in peer-reviewed papers, contributed to book chapters, and co-authored "Hepatology at a Glance". His main clinical interests include biliary disease, as well as treatment and management of all kinds of conditions to do with the liver or pancreas.

Dr Joshi educates future hepatologists as a clinical lecturer at King's College London outside of his practising and research hours. In addition, he sits on the expert panel of the PSC Support, a leading charity for primary sclerosing cholangitis. Additionally, he is a Liver Committee member for the British Society of Gastroenterology, which he has been a participant of since 2016.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.