Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases

Division of Gastroenterology

Three organs produce digestive juices that help break down food: the pancreas, liver and gallbladder. A system of drainage channels, called ducts, allow these juices to be released to the next digestive phase. The biliary ducts allow bile to be released from the liver. Blockages, tumors, stones and infections can all develop in this intricate system, often requiring advanced GI skill to diagnose and treat the disorder.

Georgetown GI offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment procedures for patients with all forms of pancreatic and biliary diseases. These procedures include:

  • ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography), a highly specialized technique that uses an endoscope combined with contrast dye to study the pancreas, liver, gallbladder and the network of ducts. Because some of these opening are very small and difficult to reach, ERCP requires an experienced endoscopist. During ERCP, a diagnosis can often be made and the physician can perform certain treatments immediately. (These are described in the section called "Highly Specialized Testing and Treatment.")
  • Sphincter of Oddi manometry, performed during an ERCP to measure the squeeze pressure of this sphincter, which connects the pancreas and small intestine;
  • Per oral Cholangioscopy, a small scope is passed via an ERCP scope to examine the bile duct and pancreas duct and delivers treatment such as stone destruction under endoscopic control.
  • Electrohydraulic lithotripsy, a nonsurgical method for treating gallstones in the biliary tree that uses shock waves to break the stones into small fragments that can be passed through the intestine.