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Gallbladder Nuclear Medicine Scan


Overview :

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped sac located under the liver. The liver produces bile, a yellowish-green mixture of salts, acids, and other chemicals, that are stored in the gallbladder. Bile is secreted into the small intestine to help the body digest fats from foods.

Gallbladder disease, gallstones, cancer, or other abnormalities can cause pain and other symptoms. A gallbladder condition might be suspected if a patient has chronic or occasional pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. The pain may be stabbing and intense with sudden onset or it may be more of a dull, occasional ache. Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting can also occur. Fever may indicate the presence of infection. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, may also indicate that the gallbladder is involved.

A gallbladder nuclear medicine scan may be used to diagnose gallstones, blockage of the bile duct or other abnormalities, and to assess gallbladder functioning and inflammation (cholecystitis). The scan is usually performed in a hospital or clinical radiology department. The patient lies on an examination table while a small amount of radioactive dye is injected into a vein in the arm. This dye circulates through the blood and collects in the gallbladder. As the dye moves through the gallbladder, a series of pictures is taken using a special camera called a scintillation or gamma camera. This procedure produces images that look like x rays. The test usually takes one to two hours to complete, but can last up to four hours.

The results of the scan are read by a radiologist, a doctor specializing in x rays and other types of scanning techniques. A report is sent, usually within 24 hours, to the doctor who will discuss the results with the patient.




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