Your Biliary Scan explained

This patient information is for patients having a Biliary Scan and aims to tell you what a Biliary Scan is and what will happen.

Biliary Scan ExplainedTo view a PDF you may need to download Adobe Reader.

General information

A doctor has asked us to take pictures of your gall bladder.

If the appointment clashes with another outpatient appointment, or you are unable to attend on this day, please contact this department as soon as possible.  We can then reschedule the test and assign the appointment to another patient.

As the test involves small amounts of radiation, we ask that you are not accompanied by children under 18 or anyone who may be pregnant. You may bring one adult with you to the department.

If you have mobility issues, are incontinent or claustrophobic please contact the department on the number provided.

Benefit and risks of the test

Everyone receives some radiation every day from the radioactivity in the air, food we eat and even from space.  The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine test is similar to your natural exposure over one year so the risks associated with it are low.

The main benefit of the test is making the correct diagnosis, so you can get the treatment that is right for you.  This benefit is far greater than the small risk from radiation.

What does the test involve?

The test involves giving a small injection of radioactive tracer into one of the veins in your arm or hand. This is very similar to having a blood sample taken. You should feel no ill effects from the injection. Immediately after injection, we will take pictures using a Gamma Camera (see photo). The pictures normally take approximately 1½ hours.  However, you may need to stay in the department for up to 4 hours after the injection for further pictures.


If you are pregnant or breast-feeding you must inform the department as quickly as possible as special arrangements may have to be made.

You must have nothing to eat from midnight prior to the appointment. If you are diabetic please contact the department for further information.  However, you may drink as much as you wish as long as the drinks do not contain milk.

Please bring with you a list of any medication that you are on (your repeat prescription sheet if possible).

After the test

For the rest of the day, you must take extra care to wash your hands thoroughly after toilet use, sit down when you use the toilet and to flush the toilet twice.

When the test is completed, the images will be reviewed and a report will be available to the doctor who has requested the test.

The camera

The Gamma Camera used to take the pictures has an open design and the majority of patients complete the test without any discomfort.

Department of Nuclear Medicine

Lincoln County Hospital     01522 573103

Grantham Hospital              01476 464777