A hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.
A HIDA scan is most often done to evaluate your gallbladder. It's 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. A HIDA scan is often used with X-ray and ultrasound.
For a HIDA scan, also known as cholescintigraphy and hepatobiliary scintigraphy, a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. The tracer travels through your bloodstream to your liver, where the bile-producing cells take it up. The tracer then travels with the bile into your gallbladder and through your bile ducts to your small intestine. A nuclear medicine scanner (gamma camera) tracks the flow of the tracer from your liver into your gallbladder and small intestine and creates computer images.
If you’ve never had an HIDA scan you might not know what to expect and this brief guide is designed to answer the questions that might be in your mind.