Sphincter of Oddi Manometry

Sphincter of Oddi manometry is an advanced Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedure. It lets your doctor measure the pressures around a muscle called the sphincter of Oddi and take pictures of your digestive system.

The sphincter of Oddi is a muscle that opens and closes. This muscle controls the flow of liquids from the liver (bile) and pancreas (pancreatic juice) to the small intestine (duodenum) to help digestion. The sphincter of Oddi can malfunction and not open when it should. Then, digestive liquids back up and cause pain in your stomach.

Malfunction of the sphincter of Oddi can cause:

  • Backed up digestive fluids in the bile ducts from the liver
  • Backed up digestive fluids in the pancreas (pancreatitis)

Why it is Done

You might need sphincter of Oddi manometry if you have:

  • Abnormal liver tests
  • A complex biliary or pancreatic disorder
  • Unexplained pancreatitis
  • Upper abdominal pain

What to Expect

The procedure takes place at a hospital, surgery center or clinic.

  • Your doctor tells you how to prepare for the procedure. Usually, this means you can't eat or drink for about eight hours beforehand, and you should avoid smoking and taking certain medications.
  • You may have antibiotic medication before the procedure to prevent infection. These may be given intravenously (IV).
  • Your doctor numbs your throat with a local anesthetic. This medication is sprayed in your throat or you gargle with it.
  • You also may have a sedative - medication to make you sleepy. This is given through a needle in your arm (IV/intravenous).
  • Your doctor puts an endoscope (flexible tube) into your mouth and passes it down your throat and esophagus to your stomach, small intestine and bile duct.
  • The tube is equipped with a tiny camera. It transmits pictures that your doctor watches on a screen to see inside.
  • Your doctor places a small tube in a bile duct near the sphincter of Oddi to measure how it is contracting and expanding.
  • If a problem is found, such as a stone causing a blockage, your doctor might be able to treat it during the procedure.
  • After the procedure, you rest in a recovery room while the sedation medication wears off. This can take an hour or so.
  • You can't drive home if you have had sedation medication. Bring someone with you who can drive you home.
  • You might feel tired and need to rest for the remainder of the day. You can go back to your normal activities as soon as you feel up to it.
  • Your throat might hurt after the procedure. This lasts only a day or two.

What the Risks Are

ERCP is generally safe when performed by experienced doctors.

Risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pancreatitis
  • Radiation damage to tissue
  • Puncture of a portion of the gastrointestinal tract or a duct
  • Allergic reaction to the sedative medication

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