Gallbladder Nuclear Scan

What is Gallbladder Nuclear Scan

Gallbladder nuclear scan (hepatobiliary scanor HIDA scan) is an imaging test that checks the function of your liver, your gallbladder, and the ducts of those organs. These parts make up your hepatobiliary system. You may need this scan if you have symptoms of liver or gallbladder disease.

This scan is done with a camera that detects radioactive energy (gamma rays). For this exam, you will be given a radioactive substance, called a radiotracer, through an IV tube inserted in your hand or arm.

As the radiotracer moves through your hepatobiliary system, the camera and a computer detect the gamma rays and form them into images that show how well your system is working.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any possibility of pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.
  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Take medicines only as directed by your health care provider.
  • Your health care provider will let you know when you should start fasting. You may not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before the procedure or for at least four hours before the test.
  • Do notwear jewelry to the exam.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to put on a gown for the procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

  • An IV tube will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. It will remain in place throughout the exam.
  • A small amount of the radiotracer material will be injected through your IV tube.
  • You may feel a cold sensation as the material runs through your IV tube.
  • While you are lying down, a technician will place the gamma camera over your abdomen.
  • The camera may rotate around your body. You may be asked to stay still or move into a certain position.
  • You will then be given a medicine called cholecystokinin (CCK) through your IV tube. This will make your gallbladder empty. You may feel nauseous or have cramping for a short time.
  • Additional images will be taken after CCK is given.
  • After all the images have been taken, your IV tube will be removed.

What happens after the procedure?

  • You may resume normal activities and diet as directed by your health care provider.
  • The radiotracer will leave your body over the next few days. There are no long-term side effects from the radiotracer. Drink lots of fluids to help flush it out of your body.
  • A health care provider who specializes in nuclear medicine will read the scan and send a report to your regular health care provider.
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