ZocdocAnswersCan scintigraphy diagnose gallbladder disease?

Question

Can scintigraphy diagnose gallbladder disease?

I am having gallbladder issues. My doctor recommended scitigraphy. What is this? What can it do? Should I bother, or is this test ""excessive""?

Answer

There are several reasons to remove your gallbladder, and reasons not to remove it as well. Surgical indications for gall bladder removal or "cholecystectomy" include symptoms of pain in the right upper abdomen after eating fatty foods, which progresses to constant unrelenting pain, accompanied with nausea and vomiting and fever. In addition, the presence of gallstones with pain, is another indication to remove the gallbladder. There are several others, depending on the clinical situation. The first and usually, the best test to diagnose gallbladder disease is an ultrasound. An ultrasound is over 90% sensitive in detecting gallbladder disease, and can determine whether stones are present or signs of inflammation are present. Sometimes, however, depending on how an ultrasound is interpreted, it will not provide definitive information based on your history. For example. sometimes, gallstones are not seen or only a few criteria to diagnose gallbladder disease on US maybe present. In such equivocal situations, a scintigraphy scan or a HIDA scan, may be useful. It can help determine if there is a problem with normal emptying of the gallbladder. Low "ejection fractions" or the fraction of bile that is expelled from the gallbladder may be related to an obstruction, from a stone, or with biliary dyskinesia, (abnormality in the normal emptying of the biliary tree). This can help guide your treatment, and indicate whether surgical treatment maybe of benefit. If you continue to experience pain in the right upper abdomen, or if you haven't had an ultrasound, you should start by asking your physician about this. Unfortunately, gallbladder disease is treated differently, depending on your clinical situation. And it is important to assess whether your symptoms are in fact related to your gallbladder, and if, in fact, these symptoms can be relieved by gallbladder removal. Remember, you can always seek a second opinion about your clinical picture.

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