Understanding the HIDA Scan Gallbladder Procedure

A HIDA scan is a helpful test to check your gallbladder's health and how well it works. Your doctor might suggest one to learn more about your gallbladder.

Continue reading to learn how a HIDA scan gallbladder procedure can help assess and manage various gallbladder-related conditions.

What Is a HIDA Scan?

A nuclear med hepatobiliary scan, commonly called a HIDA scan (Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid scan), is a special type of test doctors use to check how your liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts are working. 

It helps see if there are any issues or blockages in your gallbladder or bile duct. 

This test is painless and safe, using a small amount of a radioactive substance, known as a tracer, to find and treat different diseases.

What Is a HIDA Scan with EF and CCK?

A HIDA scan with EF (ejection fraction) and CCK (cholecystokinin) is a more detailed version of the regular scan. It provides a complete understanding of your gallbladder's function and performance.

Here's how an extended HIDA scan gallbladder procedure works

  • Ejection fraction (EF) measurement
    After the scan, your doctor might calculate the "ejection fraction" of your gallbladder. This helps measure how well your gallbladder squeezes out bile. It's important to see if it's doing its job of storing and releasing bile efficiently.

    Doctors often suggest a HIDA scan with EF to people who have ongoing pain in the upper abdomen, as well as feelings of nausea and vomiting.
  • CCK (cholecystokinin) stimulation
    CCK is a lab-made hormone that makes your gallbladder squeeze. This helps the doctors look deeper into how well your gallbladder works when it gets signals, like after a meal.

    A HIDA CCK scan with EF is often suggested for patients diagnosed with gallstones or biliary dyskinesia. With this scan, a doctor can measure EF and see how your gallbladder reacts to CCK. This helps them understand how well your gallbladder works and lets them decide about your treatment.

How Long Do HIDA Scans Take?

A HIDA scan for your gallbladder can take between one and four hours. The time it takes can vary based on a few things:

  • The specific way the test is done
  • Your situation and health
  • If extra parts of the test are needed, like EF or CCK

The basic scan usually lasts about 60 minutes as the tracer goes through your liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. Adding EF measures takes 20-30 minutes more, and if CCK is used, it could take another 50 minutes. Sometimes, people might need to return for more tests up to 24 hours later.

What Can Be Diagnosed With a HIDA Scan?

A HIDA scan may help detect and confirm several diseases and conditions, including

  • Gallbladder inflammation
  • The diagnosis of gallstones
  • Bile duct inflammation
  • Gallbladder dysfunction
  • Bile reflux
  • Anomalous biliary anatomy
  • Postoperative evaluation
  • Chronic abdominal pain

Your physician may order a CCK-HIDA scan gallbladder procedure to evaluate, diagnose, or rule out the several conditions

  • Gallbladder dyskinesia—The gallbladder does not effectively contract and eject bile
  • Biliary dyskinesia—The gallbladder does not move bile into the bile ducts
  • Acute acalculous cholecystitis—Sudden gallbladder inflammation without gallstones
  • Acute calculous cholecystitis—A gallstone suddenly blocks the cystic duct
  • Chronic cholecystitis—Repeated gallstones
  • Functional biliary disease—Decreased gallbladder contractility and colicky pain

Delivering Premier HIDA Scan for Gallbladder in Fayetteville, NC

Our dedicated team offers leading-edge nuclear medicine scans and imaging solutions, including the HIDA scan gallbladder procedure, as an integral part of a comprehensive health evaluation. 

If you have been referred for a HIDA Scan, feel free to contact us at 910-323-2209 to schedule an appointment today.

Please note that a doctor's referral is required for a HIDA scan procedure and all other services except mammograms.