Contrast-based endoscopic cholangio- and pancreatography has become possible after the development of side-viewing duodenoscopes in conjunction with methods to cannulate the papilla in the 1970s. This was soon complemented by therapeutic interventions, starting with endoscopic sphincterotomy in 1974 (Classen and Demling 1974). Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) differs from many other endoscopic procedures, as its intention is usually primarily therapeutic. Diagnostic ERCP has mostly been replaced by less invasive methods such as (endoscopic) ultrasonography, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance tomography/MR cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). In contrast, therapeutic ERCP for treatment of biliary or pancreatic stones and strictures and for palliative therapy of malignant diseases has been growing rapidly.
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