Oral Cholecystogram

The oral cholecystogram (kohl-ee-SIS-toegram) is an x-ray of the gallbladder. This exam is done to detect gallbladder disease or gallstones. Because food affects the way the gallbladder works, you will need to make several changes in your diet before the test.

Two Days Before the Exam

You may eat a regular diet all day. You will be given a medication to take at specific times on this day. Beginning at 4 p.m., you will have to take one tablet of Bilivist® with water every hour until 9 p.m. You will take a total of six tablets between 4 and 9 p.m. that day. This medication helps your gallbladder show up more clearly on the x-ray. It is important to take the medication on time. 


Day Before the Exam

Eat a low-fat diet all day. A low-fat diet will limit the activity of your gallbladder and help it to retain the Bilivist, which will help the exam give more accurate results. Beginning at 4 p.m., you will need to take one tablet of Bilivist with water every hour until 9 p.m. (a total of six tablets). Again, it is important to take the medication on time. Do not eat any solid foods after dinner the night before the exam. You may drink only water after dinner until midnight. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.


Day of the Exam

Do not eat breakfast the day of the exam. You may have only small sips of water. If you have had a barium enema or upper gastrointestinal study within the past three days, you will receive an enema before your cholecystogram. The enema will help to make your gallbladder visible for the exam.


In the Radiology Department, x-rays will be taken of your abdomen. The exam lasts about an hour and a half. After the exam, you may resume your normal diet and activities. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

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