Gallbladder x rays are diagnostic studies of the gallbladder (GB), a small pear-shaped sac that stores bile and is located under the liver. The study involves taking tablets containing iodine compounds a day before the x ray. The tablets are absorbed by the intestine, excreted by the liver and then concentrated in the gallbladder. In some clinics and hospitals the tablets are taken over a two day period, in hope of a better visualization of the gallbladder. This is known as a double-dose oral cholecystogram. This test was once the standard for diagnosing diseases of the GB; however, in recent years it is not often requested due to the advances in diagnostic ultrasound.
This test, also known as an oral cholecystogram or OCG, is usually ordered to help physicians diagnose disorders of the gallbladder, such as gallstones, inflammation, and tumors. The test is usually ordered when a gallbladder ultrasound has proved non-diagnostic. It is used in the investigation of patients complaining of upper abdominal pain after eating a fatty meal. Obese women over forty with a diet high in fat and low in fiber are at risk for gallstones. This test also measures gallbladder function, since the failure of the organ to visualize can signify a non-functioning or diseased gallbladder. The gallbladder may also not visualize if the bilirubin level is over four, and the study should not be performed under these circumstances. A CT scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography) would be done instead.
Lorraine K. Ehresman, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,