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Gallbladder Scan

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 (fetus).
  • Barium and bismuth. If a gallbladder scan is needed, it should be done before any tests that use barium (such as a barium enema).
  • 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. To learn more, see the topic Abdominal Ultrasound.
  • 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. To learn more, see the topic Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP).
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method called MR cholangiopancreatogram (MRCP) may also be done to find blockage of the bile duct.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
Current as of October 17, 2012
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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