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Dr. German
Dr. German, Doctor (MD)
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How long does a HIDA scan usually take

Resolved Question:

How long does a HIDA scan usually take?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. German replied 3 years ago.
Hi, welcome to justanswer , it usually takes a time period of 1 -2 hours to be performed.

They will inject you the radioactive dye or tracer and the gamma camera takes pictures for a period of 1-2 hours . When the radioactive tracer reaches your intestines, the procedure is completely done .


The tracer will remain your body for 1-2 days and it will be eliminated in the urine.

You will need to drink a lot of water , flush the toilet 2 times and wash your hands with soap and water after you urinate .

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
yes, how often is it that a HIDA scan picks up problems with the gallbladder that an ultrasound doesn't. I've had a pain in my right side for a couple of weeks that won't go away. It is not constant, nor is it severe. I only feel it when I move a certain way or walk a certain way or stomp my right foot in a certain way. To be honest, I never felt this pain until I was running late for work one day and ran into the building with my laptop back on my shoulder and a somewhat heavy backpack. It was after this incident that I've been feeling this pain, leading me to think it was a strained muscle. But after about 5 days, I went to the doctor to be safe. Blood tests normal, urine tests normal, had an ultrasound to check for gallbladder issues, also normal. Passed it up to a muscle strain after all, but then 3 days later or so, I started having digestive trouble. I have since been taking a probiotic once a day, and benefiber 3 times a day along with 8 glasses of water, and I feel like my digestive system is ok again, but could the two be connected? A friend of mine's wife had very similar trouble and it was a muscle strain that actually brought on that pain, and constipation and everything else. At any rate, a doctor at the clinic I went to (not who I saw mind you) ordered a HIDA scan for me to check to see if the ultrasound wasn't picking up anything. I'll also add that on the scale of 1 to 10 (10 most severe), it's probably a 3 now, i don't feel anything by breathing in deeply, I don't feel more pain after I eat, and I only get it by moving certain ways. The pain is just a little spasm that lasts maybe a second or two, never longer. I am going to the doctor that ordered the scan tomorrow, but does this really sound like gallbladder?
Expert:  Dr. German replied 3 years ago.
Being honest , this does not really sound like a gallbladder issue . However ,it is always recommendable to investigate all the possibilities to be 100 % sure this is not gallbladder disease.

It is true , gallbladder stones or inflammation can produce right side pain , but it is usually accompanied by other symptoms .

For example , gallbladder pain usually occurs within minutes of eating a meal , other symptoms are nausea, vomiting , yellow skin or eyes and clay colored stools . You could also present abdominal pain or discomfort specially when you eat fried foods or any meals with a fat high content .

The problem with the ultrasound ,is that there are things it will not be able to detect like the presence of a stone when is located in the biliary duct and it only detects gallbladder inflammation if it is product of the accumulation of gallstones .

For that reason, the HIDA will be able to find out other things that could also affect your gallbladder and that can not be detected with the ultrasound including gallbladder inflammation, biliary duct stones ,cystic duct or common bile duct obstruction or a biliary diskinesia ( in this condition , the gallbladder contracts excessively which generates pain without the presence of gallstones ).

Although this looks more like a strained muscle , gallbladder is still a possibility and should be investigated

However , there is no need to get over worried or over concerned.

If you really have a gallbladder condition , it is something that can be perfectly treated.


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Dr. German, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
"If you really have a gallbladder condition , it is something that can be perfectly treated."

If it is a gallbladder inflammation minus stones, are there non-surgical options? If surgery is the recommendation, under the circumstances that I have described, what is an acceptable wait time? I only ask because I have to travel to Italy next week for work for a few days. In such a situation would it be risky to put off the surgery until after the business trip?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
Expert:  Dr. German replied 3 years ago.
Gallbladder inflammation could be treated with a combination of antibiotics if there is an underlying infectious process, pain medication and antispasmodic medication .

It is also necessary to incorporate a low fat diet as part of the treatment plan.

In most cases, surgery is the best treatment . The main reason for this , is that is really common to reexperience gallbladder attacks ,inflammation or infections in the future . To avoid further complications , surgery is usually performed .

However , if there is not a gallbladder infection or inflammation at the time , You can travel to Italy with no problems at all and have the surgery after you return .



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
And if there is an infection right now, but I'm not in agony, would I still be able to travel?

Also, is it common to have gallbladder pain lasting only a half a second or so depending on how I move, or does that pretty much fall out of the realm of symptoms? I ask because I was talking to my mother this evening, who has had gallstones and therfore had to have her gallbladder removed, and she said the pain she felt was sharp, and would last several minutes and come as it pleased. In my case, I don't feel anything unless I move a certain way, and when I do it's not too painful and it ranges from about a half a second to on rare occasion two seconds at the most.
Expert:  Dr. German replied 3 years ago.
In your case, by your clinical symptoms and the duration of the pain , it does not sound really like a gallbladder issue .

The doctor is performing the tests to be 100 % sure that everything is OK .

If you really had an infection , you will have more pronounced symptoms including fever and a lot of pain. So do not worry , You do not have an infection and you will be able to travel.


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Dr. German, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 3819
Experience: MD
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