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What does it mean if you have pain during a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan?

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Quick Answer

Pain during a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan sometimes indicates an allergic reaction to the procedure's medications, which contain radioactive tracers, according to Mayo Clinic. However, these reactions are typically mild, states Healthline. The injection of the medication is sometimes a little painful, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure lasts for about an hour, and patients must remain motionless. Some individuals find this uncomfortable.

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Full Answer

A hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid, or HIDA, scan, is useful for identifying problems in the liver, gallbladder or bile ducts, reports Mayo Clinic. Some ailments uncovered by HIDA scans include gallbladder inflammation, obstruction or abnormalities of bile ducts, and complications following operations. Physicians also monitor liver transplants wit the scans. However, diagnosing gallbladder problems is the most common use of the scans.

Patients typically fast for a few hours before HIDA scans, says Mayo Clinic. However, fasting longer than the required time interferes with results, notes Johns Hopkins Medical. During the procedure, patients lie on their backs, and medical personnel inject radioactive tracers into their arms.

The tracer makes its way through the bloodstream to the liver, states Mayo Clinic. Cells that produce bile absorb the tracer and carry it to the gall bladder, bile ducts and small intestine. While this is happening internally, a gamma camera photographs the patient's abdomen to monitor the tracer.

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