A hepatobiliary scan is a test used to find problems in the gallbladder. Special pictures are taken after a medicine is injected into a vein. The medicine is called a radiopharmaceutical (a tiny amount of a radioactive liquid). The pictures show the medicine in the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
Before the Scan
Before coming to the hospital, read this explanation and explain to your child what will happen during the test. For young children, use simple words and explain only shortly before the test.
- Your child cannot eat or drink anything by mouth for at least four hours, but not more than 12 hours, before the test
- Bring along a bottle of formula or juice with you for after the test if your child is an infant
- Bring a pacifier, blanket or special toy to help calm your baby
- Bring a book, toy or DVD for older children to play with while waiting
- Bring another caregiver for your child's siblings.
- Bring a stroller for young children and babies
During the Procedure
The child will lie on a soft table and a technologist will place a small needle called an IV into a vein in your child's hand or foot. The needle hurts for just a moment. When the needle is in, the medicine is injected into a vein and the technologist begins taking pictures.
Your child will need to lie still while a special camera is used to take pictures from above and below. They may need a safety belt to help them lie still. During this time they may watch a DVD.
It will take at least one hour — and sometimes two hours — to take all of the pictures. During this time, the camera will not hurt or touch your child. You will be able to stay with them during the entire test.
It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs.
After the Scan
The child eliminates the medicine from their body by urinating. They should drink plenty of fluids and urinate often to help clear it from their body. It should be completely out of their body within 24 hours.
As always, you and your child should wash your hands after they urinate or when handling urine-soaked diapers or sheets.
After the test, your child may return to regular daily activities and meals. Results of the test will be available to your child's doctor within 24 hours.
Technology & Scanners
The pictures will be taken by a Siemens ECam. The open gantry design and feet-in imaging helps your child to feel more comfortable and allows him to watch a movie. The camera has two detectors, one which will be above your child and one which will be under them during the pictures.