HIDA Scan (Gall-bladder)

Information for patients 

Nuclear medicine is the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to gain images for diagnosis or treatment of various conditions or diseases. Images are created by administering a radioactive compound (“tracer”) which targets a particular region of interest. All tests are safe and non-invasive

Unlike other scanning methods such as: X-rays, nuclear medicine test provides information about physiology and function.

Your doctor has requested a HIDA Scan of the gall-bladder for you and in this leaflet we describe what is involved.

Please read through everything very carefully.

What is this study going to show?

The purpose of this study is to obtain pictures of your gall-bladder. This will help your doctor diagnose your condition and give you appropriate treatment.

Please allow approximately 3 hours for the study.

Is the radioactivity harmful?

Your test will involve the use of a small amount of ionising radiation (similar to a CT scan) and the risk associated with this is low.  The main benefit of the test is making the correct diagnosis, so you can get the treatment that is right for you.  This benefit is far greater than the small risk of radiation.

Preparing for the study

You must have nothing to eat or drink on the morning of the scan. We need you to be nil by mouth for at least 4hours before you arrive to the department. This includes any solids or liquids. 

If you would like to, bring along a CD of your favourite music to help pass the time.

What does the study involve?

Radioactive Tracer Injection

At the beginning of the study we will inject a small amount of radioactive tracer into a vein in your arm. This will not affect you in any way.

Waiting Period

There is no delay between the injection and the scan. The scan will start at the time of the injection.

HIDA Scan of the Gall-bladder

Before the HIDA scan you will be required to remove any items of jewellery or metal objects from your abdominal area and may be requested to change into a hospital gown.

We start the scan at the time of the injection with you lying on the scanning bed and pictures of your abdomen will be taken with a gamma camera. The camera will be close to your body, and you will need to stay as still as possible. The scan may take up to 2 hours.

At a certain point during the scan you will be asked to drink a high-calorie drink. This is similar to creamy milk. The scan will then continue for up to an hour.

If you have any allergies please mention this to the team member when you call to confirm your appointment.

How long does the test take?

Your stay with us will be up to 4 hours. You may resume your normal diet after the scan for the rest of the day.

Further information

Please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff in the department if you have any questions.

Alternatively, you can contact the booking office on 020 3315 8415

If you are currently on any medication please continue having them. If possible please bring you list of medications with you.

Can I bring a friend with me?

Yes, although some parts of your test may require your friend to sit outside the examination room. Please do NOT bring children or pregnant women (unless the test is for the child).   

What measures I have to take?

We advise patients to drink plenty of fluids to flush the remaining radioactivity out of the body. You may then resume a normal diet unless advised otherwise.

What happens to the study results?

A report will be sent to your consultant doctor within two weeks. Unfortunately you will not receive results on the day of your test.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you believe that you may be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding it is important that you contact the department as soon as possible before your test, as it may need to be rescheduled.

Contact information

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Nuclear Medicine Department
1st Floor, Lift Bank D (within main X-Ray department)
T: 020 3315 8415