Allergic reactions to the radioactive
tracer are rare. Most of the tracer will be eliminated from your body (through
your urine or stool) within a day, so be sure to promptly flush the toilet and
thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. The amount of radiation is so
small that it is not a risk for people to come in contact with you following
Occasionally, some soreness or swelling may develop at
the injection site. These symptoms can usually be relieved by applying moist,
warm compresses to your arm.
There is always a slight risk of
damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the
low level of radiation released by the radioactive tracer used for this
A gallbladder scan is a special
nuclear scanning test that is done to check
gallbladder function. The results of a gallbladder
scan are available in 2 days.
The radioactive tracer flows evenly through
the liver and then into the gallbladder and the beginning of the small
The gallbladder is normal in size, shape,
The tracer may not be removed normally from
the bloodstream by the liver, meaning possible liver disease.
The gallbladder does not contract or empty normally.
The tracer may not reach the gallbladder,
meaning inflammation or blockage of the duct by a
The tracer may not reach the beginning of
the small intestine (duodenum), meaning blockage of a bile duct by a stone,
a tumor, infection, or inflammation of the
pancreas. See a picture of a
gallbladder scan .
Pain occurs when the gallbladder empties
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Pregnancy. A gallbladder scan is not usually
done during pregnancy because the radiation could damage the developing baby
- Barium and bismuth. If a
gallbladder scan is needed, it should be done before any tests that use barium
(such as a
- The inability to remain
still during the test.
- Being allergic to morphine.
What To Think About
- A gallbladder
ultrasound test may also be done to find problems of
the gallbladder. The ultrasound test provides more information about the shape
and size of the gallbladder than a nuclear scan does. But the nuclear scan can
provide information about how well the gallbladder is functioning and whether
the bile ducts are blocked. For more information, see the topic
- The results of a
gallbladder scan should be interpreted along with your symptoms and the results
of other tests, such as a physical examination and an ultrasound. Abnormal
results from a gallbladder scan do not necessarily mean that the gallbladder
needs to be removed.
- A test called endoscopic retrograde
cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) can be done to find blockage of the bile duct.
For more information, see the topic
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP).
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method called MR
cholangiopancreatogram (MRCP) may also be done to find blockage of the bile