PHONE: (07) 5451 0077  |  Services | Liver


This test is used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. It involves an injection of a radiopharmaceutical into a vein in your arm with continuous images for the next hour. The injection travels through your bloodstream to your liver, and is then excreted into the bile. The tracer then travels into the gallbladder. You will then receive an infusion of CCK (cholecystokinin – which is a natural hormone which stimulates gallbladder contraction). Further imaging is acquired over the next hour (during the CCK infusion) to assess emptying of the gallbladder.

Patient preparation: Fast for 4 hours – patient MUST eat 4 hours prior to the procedure
Test Duration: 2 hours
Are there any after effects: No

Clinical Indications:

  • Gallbladder Inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Bile duct obstruction
  • Congenital abnormalities in the bile ducts eg. biliary atresia
  • Post operative complications, such as bile leaks and fistulas
  • Assessment of liver transplant

Click to enlarge.

Colloid Scan

This test can be used to determine the size and the shape of the liver and the spleen as well as for detecting functional abnormalities of the reticuloendothelial cells of these organs. This involves an injection of a radiopharmaceutical into a vein in your arm. Images are obtained 15 minutes later which generally take 30 minutes.

Preparation: Nil
Test Duration: 45 minutes
Are there any after effects: No

Clinical Indications:

  • Detect and diagnose liver masses (cysts, masses, tumours)
  • Diagnose liver disease (jaundice, cirrhosis, fatty liver, nodular growth)
  • Evaluate the size, shape and position of the liver and spleen (hepatomegaly splenomegaly, accessory spleen), look for liver and/or spleen trauma

This posterior examination demonstrates increased splenic activity in association with an enlarged spleen. The extrahepatic reticuloendothelial accumulation of the tracer indicates hepatocellular dysfunction.

Multiple cold defects in the liver demonstrating tumour deposits.

Click on images to enlarge.

Labelled Red Cell Study

This scan is for patients who have had a mass in the liver detected on other imaging such as CT and/or ultrasound. This scan is helpful to diagnose conditions such as hemangioma.

You will receive an injection into a vein in the arm, then wait 20 minutes and receive another injection and imaging will commence immediately which will take approximately 25 minutes. You are then required to return to the department for further imaging approximately 3 hours later.

Preparation: Nil
Test Duration:

  • Initial Appointment – 1 hour
  • Delay Appointment – 30 minutes

Are there any after effects: No

Clinical Indications:

  • Liver hemangioma

Where the arrows are pointing indicates the presence of liver hemangiomas.

H – heart S – spleen.

Click to enlarge.