HIDA (Hepatobiliary) Scan

ExitCare ImageYour caregiver has suggested that you have a HIDA Scan. This is also known as a hepatobiliary scan. The HIDA Scan helps evaluate the hepatobiliary system (liver and gallbladder and their ducts). Your liver is the organ in your body that produces bile. The bile is then collected in the gallbladder. The bile is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. The bile is excreted (passed) into the small intestine when it is needed for digestion. A stone can block the duct (tube) leading from the gallbladder to the small intestine. This can cause an inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). Because bile is always needed for fat processing, you may feel a gallbladder attack especially after eating a fatty meal.


  • Allergies.

  • Medications taken including herbs, eye drops, over the counter medications, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or novocaine.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.

  • History of blood clots (thrombophlebitis).

  • History of bleeding or blood problems.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems.


  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam as instructed.

  • You may take medications with a small amount of water the morning of the exam unless your caregiver instructs you otherwise.

You should be present 60 minutes prior to your procedure or as directed.


  • An IV will be placed in your arm and remain throughout the exam.

  • A small amount of very short acting radioactive material will be injected into the IV.

  • While lying down a special camera will be placed over your abdomen (belly). This camera is used to detect the injected material. The camera will place images on film. A radiologist (specialist in reading x-rays) can evaluate the images. It will help determine how well your gallbladder is working.

  • You will then be given a material called CCK. This will make your gallbladder contract. It occasionally causes symptoms (problems) that mimic a gallbladder attack or the feeling you have after eating a fatty meal.

  • The entire test usually takes one to two hours. Your caregiver can give you more accurate times. Following the test you may go home and resume normal activities and diet as instructed.

Ask your caregiver how you are to find out your results. Remember, it is your responsibility to find out the results of your test. Do not assume everything is all right or "normal" if you have not heard from your caregiver.