HIDA Biliary Scan

This scan evaluates your biliary system’s function. It is used to assess the function of your gallbladder or to evaluate issues post-gallbladder-removal surgery (cholecystectomy).


  • Don’t eat, drink, smoke or chew anything six hours prior to your exam.
  • As the test will take two hours, wear comfortable clothing free of large metal buttons.
  • Please ensure you’ve had no barium studies for one week prior to the study.
  • Please notify your technologist if there is a chance you may be pregnant, or if you are nursing. If you are pregnant, the exam will need to be postponed. If you are uncertain, a blood test will be required to confirm you are not pregnant prior to starting the exam. This may delay or postpone your appointment if not obtained in advance. If you are nursing, you will be given further instructions regarding breastfeeding.
  • Please let your technologist know if you are claustrophobic prior to the start of the exam.
  • Avoid opiates or analgesics such as Demerol, Morphine or Percocet for four hours prior to the study.
  • If you are on any of the following medications, please let your technologist know:
    • Atropine
    • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Lorazepam, Diazepam)
    • Calcium-Channel Blockers (e.g., Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Nifedipine, Verapamil)
    • Histamine-2 Receptor Antagonists (e.g., Ranitidine)
    • Indomethacin
    • Octreotide
    • Progesterone
    • Theophylline


  • You will be asked to empty your bladder before the exam begins and then lie on your back on the imaging bed.
  • Your technologist will position the gamma camera over your abdominal area and inject a radioactive material (radiopharmaceutical) into a vein in your arm.
  • This radiopharmaceutical is taken up by the liver and transported to the biliary system and gallbladder.
  • Imaging will begin immediately after your injection and continue for 60 minutes.
  • While the images are being acquired, try to hold as still as you can. You may breathe normally, but movement may blur the images, making them more difficult to interpret. Please let your technologist know if you are not comfortably positioned on the bed.
  • The scan is painless and if necessary, you will be able to talk to your technologist during the procedure.
  • If the gallbladder has filled up with the radiopharmaceutical within 60 minutes, you will be asked to drink Boost. This will encourage your gallbladder to contract.
  • An image will be taken just prior to drinking the Boost and another image will be acquired after one hour.
  • You will be required to stay in the clinic for the duration of the study, which will take approximately two hours.
  • If you’ve had your gallbladder surgically removed (a cholecystectomy), the technique for the study will be slightly different. This study will take approximately one-and-a-half hours.


We do our best to have the specialized nuclear medicine physician interpret the data and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.


This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.

For Your Appointment

Please ensure that you bring your requisition with to your appointment.



2 - 3 hours