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Patient Instructions

  • Hepatobiliary Scan

Patient Instructions - Hepatobiliary Scan

A hepatobiliary scan uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to examine the gallbladder and bile ducts. The tracer is eliminated by your body as waste, usually within 24 hours. The radiation you are exposed to with the injected radioactive substance is about the same as a regular X-ray.

A hepatobiliary scan is performed to detect abnormalities in the gallbladder and/or bile ducts such as gallstones, or for right-sided, upper abdominal discomfort.

Before your Procedure

  • Tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.

  • You should not eat or drink anything for 4 hours prior to your scan.

During your Procedure

  • Your first step is to have a radioactive substance (or tracer) injected into a vein in your arm. You will not feel any effects from the injection.

  • Then you will be positioned on your back on a table and a large camera will be placed above you. The camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer and produce pictures as the tracer passes through your liver and into your gallbladder and small intestine.

  • Pictures will start approximately 10 minutes after the injection and then about every 5-10 minutes for about an hour.

  • After the hour of scanning, you may receive an injection called sincalide to empty your gallbladder. This injection is given over 30 minutes and pictures are taken at the same time.

  • The second set of pictures can help determine if the gallbladder is functioning normally.

  • Occasionally, a medication called morphine is given instead of sinaclide to help visualize the gallbladder.

  • The length of exam is 1 ½ - 2 hours.

After your Procedure

  • You can resume your normal activities unless you have received medication.

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider. 

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