Learn about HIDA Scan for gallbladder issues at Advanced Gastro Center for Patients in New Jersey

Overview of HIDA Scan

A HIDA scan, or cholescintigraphy, is a nuclear medicine procedure done to assess the hepatobiliary tract. This includes imaging of the gallbladder and bile ducts. A HIDA scan is usually performed in a medical center’s nuclear medicine department and takes a few hours to complete.

Indications for HIDA Scan Necessity

While a HIDA scan can show several features of the gastrointestinal (GI) system, two of the most common purposes is to look for cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder, and cholelithiasis, the medical term for gallstones. The gallbladder ejection fraction (EF) can be calculated through a HIDA scan. The EF is usually between 35% and 75%. An EF below this range suggests gallbladder dysfunction and a gallbladder removal, or cholecystectomy, is a typical treatment.

In addition to gallbladder disease, a HIDA scan can also be used to evaluate the cystic ducts and other parts of the biliary system. HIDA scans are often ordered when a patient has pain or other symptoms after eating fatty foods.

HIDA Scan Procedure

You’ll usually have your HIDA scan as an outpatient. Your appointment will be scheduled through your New Jersey Advanced Gastro Center’s gastroenterologist’s office.

Preparation: You will receive detailed instructions about preparing for your HIDA scan from your gastroenterologist, but here is some information about what to expect. You typically will not have to fast the entire night before your HIDA scan, but you may be instructed to refrain from eating a few hours before the procedure.

Also, HIDA scans are not usually performed under sedation or anesthesia. If you normally drive yourself, you should be able to drive following your HIDA scan.

HIDA Scan: You’ll need to change into a gown before the start of your HIDA scan. You will then be positioned on your back and receive an intravenous radiotracer. This radiotracer will allow the radiologist to see the details of your biliary system on imaging. You might feel a cold sensation, pressure, or experience a metallic taste when the radiotracer is injected.

The imaging will then begin. A special camera passes over your torso, taking pictures of your gallbladder and biliary system. It’s important that you remain as motionless as possible during this time. This part of the HIDA scan takes about an hour.

Recovery from HIDA Scan

You will usually be able to leave the medical center immediately after your HIDA scan is concluded. You’ll receive postprocedure instructions that you should follow carefully.

The radiologist at New Jersey Advanced Gastro Center will interpret your HIDA scan results and prepare a report for your gastroenterological doctor. This only takes a couple of days. Your gastroenterologist will then share your results with you and discuss future treatment options if needed.


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