Hepatobiliary Scan

A hepatobiliary scan uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to examine the gallbladder and bile ducts to detect abnormalities such as gallstones or for right-sided, upper abdominal discomfort. The tracer is eliminated by your body as waste, usually within 24 hours.

Before Your Procedure

  • Tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • You should not eat or drink anything or take any opiod medications for 4 hours prior to your scan.

During Your Procedure

  • To begin the test, you will have an IV placed in a vein in your arm, and a radioactive substance (or tracer) will be injected through the IV. You will not feel any effects from the injection.
  • You will then be positioned on your back on the scanner table and the camera will be placed above your abdomen.
  • Pictures will start approximately 10 minutes after the injection and will be taken every 5-10 minutes for about an hour.
  • If the gallbladder is visualized after an hour of scanning, you will either be administered a medication called sincalide or asked to consume a serving of Boost plus. Both are used to help contract and empty your gallbladder.
  • The sincalide is administered over 60 minutes and pictures are taken throughout the entire 60 minutes. Occasionally, a medication called morphine is given instead of sincalide to help visualize the gallbladder.
  • The length of the exam is 1½-2½ hours.

After Your Procedure

  • You can resume your normal activities.
  • Increase your fluid intake unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

The radioactive substance given during this procedure is Tc99m choletec.

Thank you for letting us perform your examination. Your images will be interpreted by Regional Diagnostic Radiologists (RDR). It is our goal to have the report available to your physician within 24 hours.

Your physician has requested we inform you that it may take him/her 3-5 working days before they notify you with results. If you have not been notified by the fifth working day, you may call your physician for the results. If you already have a follow up appointment scheduled with your physician, they may wait to inform you of your results at that time.

If you have any questions about your examination, please call your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO