What to Expect During a Hepatobiliary Scan

An I.V. will be placed in your arm or hand. Then, a small amount of radioactive tracer (contains no iodine) will be injected, and the patient will be placed under a camera (gamma camera) for imaging from 30 to 60 minutes. This initial set of images helps evaluate the openness (patency) of the biliary system to ensure there is not a blockage.

If it is determined that the biliary system (biliary tree) is functioning properly and the gallbladder has filled appropriately, cholecystokinin (CCK-a naturally occurring hormone within the body) is then injected through the I.V. over 30 minutes. An image is then taken after the injection to determine the ejection fraction (EF) of the gallbladder.

However, if at the end of the 60 minutes of imaging, the gallbladder has not visualized, it may be necessary to infuse a small amount of Morphine Sulfate (dose is based on weight) to help visualize the gallbladder. An additional 30 minutes of imaging is then performed to evaluate the effects of morphine on the biliary system.

If Morphine is necessary for your exam, you will need to find someone to drive you home.

If you have an allergy to morphine, a 4 hour delayed-image can be performed. Please tell the technologist of this allergy before starting your exam.

Time Consideration

The entire procedure usually takes about 1 to 2½ hours.