Biliary Function Scan

You will be required to

  • fast for 6-8 hours prior to your appointment

  • cease morphine or any codeine-based painkillers for 24 hours

  • cease smoking for 24 hours prior to the test

The examination involves a small injection into a vein in your arm. The injection is a radioactive tracer which is taken up by your liver. The tracer is then processed by the liver, before collecting in your gallbladder in the same way as bile.

Images of your gallbladder are taken for an hour immediately after the injection. You will be positioned lying on your back on the scanning bed with the special gamma camera just above your abdomen.

If your gallbladder is not seen after one hour, you may be given a small injection of morphine. The morphine will help your bile ducts contract and thus allow the tracer to go into the gallbladder. If you have this injection there will be a 15 minute wait followed by a further three minutes of imaging.

If your gallbladder is seen after the first hour and the doctor needs to investigate how well it is contracting, then further imaging is required. You will be given a glass of full cream milk. This will encourage your gallbladder to contract. As your body needs time to process the milk, there will be a wait of one hour before a further three minutes of imaging is performed.

Our Nuclear Medicine Physician will review the images and issue a report. Once completed, the report will be sent electronically to your referring health professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Evaluate the function of your gallbladder.

1.5 – 2 hours

  • Your original request form

  • Medicare and any Government concession pension or health care cards

  • Previous relevant imaging

This examination has no associated side effects.

This examination is not suitable for pregnant women. Breastfeeding mothers may undergo the procedure, but will need to cease breastfeeding for 12 hours after the scan. Breast milk should be expressed & discarded during this period. Breastfeeding may resume after the 12 hours.

Within 4-5 working days.

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