Gallbladder scans

A nuclear medicine gallbladder scan (HIDA) is a diagnostic procedure performed to check the function and condition of the gallbladder. This scan can help determine if you have gallbladder disease or your gallbladder is functioning properly.

What is a quantitative HIDA scan?

A quantitative HIDA scan measures the amount of bile emptied by the gallbladder during a 30 minute time period.

What is the difference between a gallbladder scan and a quantitative HIDA scan?

The Quantitative HIDA Scan includes an analysis of how well the gall bladder responds to sincalide. Sincalide is a medication, known as a diagnostic aid, injected before the test to check if the gallbladder and pancreas are working and to help diagnose other problems with these organs.

How to prepare

  • Do not eat or drink anything four to six hours before the exam.
  • Do not drink or eat during the exam.

What to expect

Department the technician will insert an IV into the vein in your arm. A special “radioactive tracer” is injected into the IV.

This “tracer” will show up on the pictures taken of your gallbladder. The gallbladder scan requires approximately 2 hours to complete. It may take longer if your gallbladder is not functioning properly. You must remain at the Imaging Center for the duration of the test.

What happens to the radioactive material?

Most of the radioactive material will be eliminated in your urine or stool. The rest will simply disappear over a brief period of time.

After your test

You can resume your normal activities immediately after the test.

Your test results

A doctor who has specialized training in nuclear medicine will interpret the gallbladder images. A report will be dictated and sent to your doctor. It usually takes 1-2 days for your physician to receive the results.

Contact your doctor’s office for results.