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Nuclear Medicine

Hepatobiliary (HIDA) scans 

What is a Nuclear Medicine HIDA Scan?

A hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan is most often done to evaluate your gallbladder. It is also used to look at the bile-excreting function of your liver and to track the flow of bile from your liver into your small intestine. The name HIDA comes from an early tracer used for the scan, hydroxyl iminodiacetic acid. More effective tracers are used today.

How do I Prepare for this Test?

You may have nothing to eat or drink 6hours prior to the exam. No pain medications 6 hours prior to the exam.

What to Expect During the HIDA Scan?

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown before your HIDA scan.  A technologist will position you on a table, on your back and .inject the appropriate dose of radiotracer into a vein in your arm. A radiotracer is a compound made of a radioactive isotope and a pharmaceutical agent which travels through your bloodstream to your liver, where it's taken up by the bile-producing cells. The radioactive tracer travels with the bile from your liver into your gallbladder and through your bile ducts to your small intestine.
As you lie on the table, a special gamma camera is positioned over your abdomen taking pictures of the tracer as it moves through your body.  Once you are comfortable on the bed, the imaging will begin. The gamma camera takes pictures continuously for about an hour.  It is important that you remain still as movement can ruin the images.

Our Nuclear Medicine technologists will talk to you in detail about what you can expect before, during and after the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

Because patient care is our top priority, we employ equipment and quality control as well as radiopharmaceutical quality assurance to insure that we are producing the highest image quality for both interpretation and diagnosis.

Risks of the Test

Be sure to notify the technologist if there is any chance you may be pregnant. Radionuclides are unlikely to cause side effects or allergic reactions for most patients.

Following the Test

There are no restrictions following the test.  You may return to your regular activity after the scan is complete.

Results of the Test

Your ordering physician will receive the results in 24-48 hours.  It is important to discuss the results of your scan with your ordering physician.