Hepatobiliary Scan

Also known as: HIDA scan, cholescintigraphy, hepatobiliary scintigraphy.

What is a hepatobiliary scan?

If a doctor suspects that a patient is experiencing problems related to the gallbladder, bile ducts or liver, then he or she may order a hepatobiliary scan. It’s a nuclear medicine test that involves scanning these areas of the body to look for problems.

What happens during the procedure?

A small amount of a safe radioactive substance is injected into the bloodstream. Then a camera is positioned over the abdomen and takes a number of images while the patient lies completely still. These images are used to look for problems in the liver or surrounding organs.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid food, drink or certain medications for a period of time before the test.

What are the risk factors?

There is a slight risk of a reaction to the radioactive material given to the patient, but this risk is very minor.


Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 03:01 PM

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