Hepatobiliary Scan

Download/print the Hepatobiliary Scan patient information sheet

What is a Hepatobiliary scan?

A Hepatobiliary scan, also called a gallbladder or HIDA scan, is used to evaluate upper abdominal pain, determine causes of jaundice and identify obstruction in the gallbladder.

Where can I schedule this exam?

A Hepatobiliary scan can be scheduled at: 

How should I prepare for my exam?
  • Do not eat or drink anything six hours prior to your exam.
  • If you are taking any pain medication, discontinue for at least six hours prior to your exam.
  • Wear comfortable clothes without metal fasteners, including zippers, buttons and snaps.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.
  • Please let us know if you have an insulin pump or glucose monitor. Our imaging machines may cause your device to malfunction, so it will need to be removed during your exam.
How long will my exam take?

A hepatobiliary scan can take up to 2.5 hours.

What happens during my exam?

During your exam, an IV line will be started in a vein in your arm, and you will receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive tracer. The tracer allows your gallbladder to be seen by the nuclear medicine camera.

The camera will capture an image every five minutes to monitor when your gallbladder becomes enlarged, which can take about an hour. Once your gallbladder enlarges, you will receive an injection of CCK (cholecystokinin) through the IV line. CCK makes the gallbladder contract, enabling the camera to capture images showing gallbladder function.

What happens after my exam?

Your images will be interpreted by one of our board-certified radiologists. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider who will then contact you to discuss the results.

Unless directed otherwise, you may drive, resume your normal diet, exercise and take all prescribed medications after your appointment.

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