Following your procedure, your doctor will have valuable information about your liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and pancreatic and bile ducts.
It is possible that your doctor may find that all of these organs and ducts are basically normal and don't require any treatment plans.
If a biopsy or cytology are taken, the results are usually available in 4-7 days. Be assured that your doctor's decision to take a biopsy or cytology does not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected. Biopsies of the digestive tract are routinely taken to investigate other problems such as inflammation and ulcers.
If a problem was found and not treated during the procedure, it may require additional treatment. Your doctor will discuss these findings with you along with treatment alternative or choices. You and your doctor can decide on a treatment plan that will benefit you most at this stage in your life.
If your doctor finds gallstones in one of your bile ducts and performs a sphincterotomy, in most cases you can expect that the stones will be removed from the ducts. This is successful 90% of the time, or in 90 out of 100 patients. This success rate improves to 95 out of 100 patients when a sphincterotomy is performed simply to open up a narrowed duct opening.
Benefits from a sphincterotomy often include a significant relief from abdominal pain, jaundice or other symptoms related to the gallstones. Another benefit is that your procedure is much less invasive than open gallbladder removal, which is a major surgery that requires a longer recovery period.
Long-term, in approximately 10 out of 100 successful sphincterotomy procedures, a patient will experience restenosis or re-closing of a duct opening. If this happens, new stones may form or there may be infections. These problems can happen even ten years after the procedure is done, and may require a repeat ERCP or surgery.
ERCP is a very reliable and accurate test to see and diagnose many problems. However, it is possible for some problems to be missed, despite its reliability and accuracy. So, it is important to always communicate with your doctor about any symptoms that you have after this procedure.
If you have any questions about your particular situation, you and your doctor can discuss your expected results. It is important that your expectations match your doctor's expectations.