What is a Hepatobiliary Scan?

A HIDA scan (hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan) is an imaging procedure that uses an injected chemical called a radioactive tracer (radiotracer) and a scanning camera to evaluate your gallbladder. The scan is performed in the department of nuclear medicine in radiology. The HIDA scan tracks the flow of bile from your liver to your small intestine, which is known as the biliary system.

Your liver makes bile (digestive fluid) that helps your body break down the fat in the food you eat. Certain ducts (biliary ducts) carry bile from your liver to your gallbladder for storage. When you eat, your gallbladder contracts (squeezes) and releases stored bile through ducts into the first part of your small intestine.

If any part of this process isn’t working properly, the HIDA scan can help diagnose.