Have You Had an ERCP Procedure post Gallbladder removal?

Edited , 6 users are following.

I'm now 3 months post-op. Still can have a pain/pressure in my rib cage, chest and back after I eat (very low fat diet)

I had an MRI of the liver, pancreas, common duct area (MRCP) and the surgeon said it came back 'strongly suggestive of stones in the common bile duct'. I was disappointed that the pictures didn't show stones definitely instead of a mystery. I now have a consultation with a GI guy about a procedure called ECRP. I looked it up and it actually seems scarier than having the gallbladder out.

Has anyone had this ECRP test/procedure for possible stones in the duct? What to expect? Was it successful, i.e., can you eat normally now without pain/pressure, etc.?

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  • Posted

    Yes I've had both a camera up my rear end and down my throat carried out at the same appointment. I have to admit I was really concerned about the camera down my throat part of the procedure; in fact on the day I said to the doctor that I didn't feel relaxed enough for the throat part of the procedure to begin. He told me not to worry, he would give me an injection, which he did. The really weird thing for me was I thought I was awake throughout, but what actually happened was I came too when he was just about finishing the rear end part. Then he told me it was all done and I could go. I was surprised and said to him that he hadn't finished the whole procedure - he hadn't put the camera down my throat yet. He said that he had done that first presenting me with copies of the pictures etc. The injection must have relaxed me so much I was out of it, but the odd thing is I didn't feel as though I had been.

    I'm not technical where medical procedures are concerned, but as I've written it above, this is how it played out. I couldn't get my head round the fact that I hadn't in fact be awake for the most part even though I could have sworn I was. So in the end for me it was ok.

    The moral of the story? Ask for an injection to relax you.

    Sending you very best wishes.

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  • Posted

    Hello there.! Yes I have an ERCP! After I had removal about a month later I got really sick. Rushed to hospital and given a CT scan showed a 10 mm sized stone stuck in common bile duct. Next day, they took me to surgery. Here's want they do? 1. Prep you and give you a seditive to relax and fall asleep. You will be out for duration of surgery. 2. They send a scope with a wire on the end of it. They breach your large intestine to find the bile duct. They will fish moving wire in and out of the area. They will do this until stone is free and deposited in your intestine to come out when you poop. Then you will be in recovery for a few hours. I'm not going to sugar coat this. You will be in a lot of pain. A pain you never felt. So I was admitted in hospital to recover from bad pain and healing. I was in hospital for over a week recovering from the ERCP. After recovery sent home and doing fine after surgery. Any other questions please ask!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Fernando

      you poor guy, what you went through!!

      Thanks for taking the time to respond to me.

      **My appointment is in 2 days, what questions in retrospect would you advise me asking on this consultantion with the GI guy re: the ERCP?

      *You mention intense pain. Didn't they give you pain killers in the recovery room?

      *You are normal now? I know you take ox bile and digestive enzymes from reading some of your past posts but as I'm (out of fear) eating mainly carbs and veggies I don't think enzymes are an issue for me just now?

      *How long was recovery once you got home?

      You knew going in that you had a large stone. In my case the mrcp scan came back 'strongly suggestive' of stones in the bile duct. My fear is that I have no stones and will be a medical mystery with no one knowing what is wrong or how to help.

      Anyhow, thanks again for answering and I'm happy you sound well now. That gives me some hope...

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  • Edited

    I have had this done three times now , they discovered that the bile duct was enlarged and thought it may be cancerous, sent me to a gastric cancer specialist who said he could not understand why the consultant had done this . My bile duct was so enlarged they placed me on a cancer watch for 3 years and MRIs and Scans every 6 months to check it. I believe it was damaged during a rushed gall bladder removal because the surgeon MrMagee wanted to get home before 1 PM to play Golf. HE tore my abdomen skin so much it required 25 stitches for keyhole, no apology, no explanation whatsoever. Now I look like I have been shot by a 45 bullet.Geta 2nd opinion if you have a surgeon like mine, I still have terrible guts due to his mess and can do nothing about it ! ERCP they had to hold me down even with the crap sedation you get , I had stents put in also, none of which was ever discussed . THey also found a hiatus hernia .

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  • Posted

    Had consult with GI guy re: ERCP procedure for possible stones caught in the bile duct. They go by if the duct is dilated. It should be a very skinny tube. My test said mild to moderate dilation which indicates some stones probably small.

    What I found hard to accept is that he said it didn't matter what I ate regarding these stones that it was by chance the pressure/pain attacks seems to be from eating certain foods. And it wasn't as if he was not aware of nutrition as he gave me two bottles of digestive enzymes. The idea that these stones are just moving around and it doesn't matter what I eat gives a greater sense of powerlessness. By eating a no-fat or low-fat diet I believed I was cutting down on the instances of pain but according to him it could come anytime. Unsettling.....

    The problem is this virus thing. Where I live the hospitals are only doing emergency procedures and I'm not an emergency. He thinks next month they will be opened up but actually he didn't seem to anxious to go to the hospital himself as he said to me if I could hold on a bit because the hospitals are the worse place to be right now!

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  • Edited

    Simone: I am so sorry to hear about what you are having to go through. It must be so frustrating. I have no useful advice to offer, but having read lots of experiences from people following gallbladder removal, I am increasingly of the suspicion that outcomes of the surgery vary according to the skill and experience of the surgeons. If you have any doubts seek a second opinion.

    I was fortunate to have a very experienced surgeon with a very high frequency rate in performing this surgery. My case was uncomplicated, and yet, as a precautionary measure, the surgeon undertook an interoperative cholangiogram during the surgery in order to check for stones in the bile ducts. Thankfully it was all clear.

    This procedure might have spared you what you are now facing.

    I hope you manage to get this resolved as soon as possible. In the meantime it cannot harm to keep to a low fat diet and avoid saturated fats completely. You liver is doing all of the work now that the gallbladder is gone. Best of luck and sorry I could not add anything particularly meaningful.

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    • Posted

      Hi Livvy ... I found your response most interesting because there are so many people with post operative issues, myself included. Perhaps it should be a mandatory procedure for the surgeon to carry out inter-operative cholangiogram during the surgery in order to check for stones in the bile ducts as your surgeon did. It would not only save time and money but it could also save the patient from on-going painful issues.

      Thank you.

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    • Edited

      Livvy

      Thanks for telling us about this 'interoperative cholangiogram'. It's upsetting to learn that they could have taken just 15 minutes extra to make sure there were no remaining stones but no one breathed a word. Now I'm stuck with facing a risky procedure.

      When I next speak to the GI guy who will do the ERCP if the hospitals ever open up again I'm going to ask him (not that it's his fault the surgeon never mentioned it) why it was not offered. Just to let him know I'm doing my homework and if there is anything important I should know about this ERCP that he's not telling me, now is the time.

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  • Edited

    hi Moonday,

    I am sorry to hear that you are still experiencing issues. You suffer so much prior to the operation and so it must be so disheartening.

    It seems that interoperative cholangiogram is not done routinely by many surgeons. I am not medically trained so I do not know why, maybe it is to save costs, but it makes no sense to me not to check for stones elsewhere whilst the surgery is taking place. I don't think it is a particularly risky procedure either. Surely the cost of someone having to undergo more surgery is far more expensive, not to mention the additional suffering and stress for the patient.

    The cholangiogram only added another 15 minutes or so to my gallbladder removal surgery. Apparently it also provides the surgeon with a clearer view of the bile duct system. There was no specific reason or suspicions for me to have this, it was just something my surgeon felt it prudent to do.

    Prior to surgery I read about the various experiences people had post op and I was bracing myself for all sorts of issues, but thankfully there have been none and I have recovered very well. I was fortunate to have some degree of choice as to which surgeon. All of the advice I received from a variety of medical professionals, prior to surgery, was to go with a high frequency surgeon with a low conversion rate.

    It also concerns me that gallbladder removal surgery is not carried out with more urgency. Surely it is better for all concerned to perform straightforward, planned surgery on an uncomplicated gallbladder, than wait for it to become infected, dangerous, and complicated, resulting in more than one medical procedure being required.

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    • Posted

      Hi Livvy ... yes, I agree totally .... I've already been back to have a further scan about eighteen months or so post op - the lady performing this told me that so many people who've had their gallbladder removed come back with similar issues to mine .... . something so quickly undertaken to avoid complications afterwards ...... it beggars belief really ...

      Thank you so much for your very informative post. Best wishes to you.

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  • Posted

    Simone: The procedure is not routinely carried out, which is why, I suppose, it was never mentioned to you. There is a debate about whether it should be carried out on a routine or selective basis, and it appears that a selective approach is taken by many surgeons. Obviously it adds time and cost to the surgery, so I guess some surgeons weigh that up. Perhaps your surgeon is in the selective camp, and decided that it was not necessary in your case for whatever reason.

    My surgeon mentioned the colangiogram to me, suggested it would be beneficial and I was happy for it to be carried out. My bloods were all in the normal range and there were no specific reasons for me to have the procedure, it was obviously just a precautionary measure and a preference for my surgeon.

    As I said, I suspect that the varying outcomes of surgery could be affected by the varying skills, experience and approaches of surgeons.

    I am a firm believer in the motto that knowledge is power, and if this whole gallbladder experience has taught me anything, it is to research everything including the condition, procedure and the surgeon.

    Reading this forum helped me identify that I might have gallstones, and as a result of that I went for a private scan and basically walked into my GP's office and told him what was wrong. Had I not done this, I suspect I would have been fobbed off, or had to wait an inordinate amount of time to have it investigated - my GP is not the most pragmatic!

    I hope you get things sorted soon Simone.

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  • Posted

    hi Moonday,

    That is worrying! Best of luck with everything

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