What you can expect

During the procedure

Your health care team will position you on a table, usually on your back, and inject the radioactive tracer into a vein in your arm. You might feel pressure or a cold sensation while the radioactive tracer is injected.

During the test, you may get an intravenous injection of the drug sincalide (Kinevac), which makes your gallbladder contract and empty. Morphine, another drug sometimes given during a HIDA scan, makes the gallbladder easier to visualize.

A gamma camera is positioned over your abdomen to take pictures of the tracer as it moves through your body. This process takes about an hour, during which you'll need to remain still.

Tell your team if you become uncomfortable. You might be able to lessen the discomfort by taking deep breaths.

On a computer, the radiologist will watch the progress of the radioactive tracer through your body. In some cases, you might need additional imaging within 24 hours if original images aren't satisfactory.

After the procedure

In most cases, you can go about your day after your scan. The small amount of radioactive tracer will lose its reactivity or pass through your urine and stool over the next day or two. Drink plenty of water to help flush it out of your system.

April 16, 2016
References
  1. Zakko SF, et al. Acute cholecystitis: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 9, 2016.
  2. Ziessman HA. Hepatobiliary scintigraphy in 2014. Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2014;55:967.
  3. ACR-SPR practice parameter for the performance of hepatobiliary scintigraphy. American College of Radiology. http://www.acr.org/Search?q=Practice%20guideline%20for%20the%20performance%20of%20adult%20and%20pediatric%20hepatobiliary%20scintigraphy. Accessed March 9, 2016.
  4. Nuclear medicine — Hepatobiliary. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=hepatobiliary. Accessed March 9, 2016.