Procedure for cholecystogram
The test is performed by an X-ray technician. The patient is given six tablets on the previous night that contain a special dye. Tablets contain a contrast medium that enables the technician to view the better images of the gall bladder.
Patient is asked to lie down on the X-ray table. The health care provider views the different images of the gall bladder by asking the patient to change position from time to time. If the examiner views clear homogenous images, a fatty meal is given that helps the gall bladder to look smaller and release bile. If the size of the gall bladder does not reduce in size, there may probably be some outgrowths. X-ray images are taken after one hour.
Preparation for the test
The test is not performed on the pregnant women and persons who are allergic to the X-ray contrast material.
On the previous night, patient is asked to eat a high fat meal in the lunch and in the evening the patient is given low fat meal. Two hours after the dinner the patient is given 6 tablets, one at a time. The patient is instructed not to eat or drink anything after the intake of the tablets.
Risks of cholecystogram
There are a few risks involved in the procedure. There is a very little amount of exposure to radiations from the X-rays. Some people are allergic to the contrast medium and develop gastrointestinal symptoms after the procedure such as diarrhea. Patient may feel thirsty and hungry after the procedure. People who are sensitive to the contrast medium should not undergo the procedure.
Benefits of the test
The test is useful in diagnosing the diseases of the liver and the gall bladder. Any abnormality observed in the X-ray images indicates gall stones, inflammation of the gall bladder, and abnormal growth such as polyps or tumors. If gall bladder is not visualized during the procedure, it strongly indicates some disease of the gall bladder.
The test is not recommended for the patients having a history of kidney or lung disease. Patients with kidney or lung disease are at an increased risk of side effects from the procedure. In such patients, ultrasound and MRI are recommended to diagnose the diseases of the gall bladder.
Afdahl NH. Diseases of the gall bladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 159.