University of Iowa Department of Radiology
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Creation Date: February 1990
Last Revision Date: February 1990
Gall bladder series
The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ that lies under the liver. Its function is to temporarily store bile, a substance produced in the liver to assist in the digestion of fats. When you eat, the gall bladder empties bile into the intestine to be used in the digestive process. During an x-ray of the gall bladder, your gall bladder is visualized with x-rays and its function studied. This x-ray assists your doctor in making a diagnosis.
Before the x-ray
Two days prior to the exam, eat a regular supper. At approximately 7 p.m. you will take six tablets, one at a time, every 10 minutes, with a small amount of water. These pills contain a dye that is concentrated in the gallbladder and must be taken in order for the gallbladder to be visualized on the x-ray.
Following the first dose of dye tablets all subsequent meals should be fat-free. Avoid rich or greasy foods.
The evening before the exam, starting at 7 p.m., repeat the six tablets in the same manner. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight until after the exam is completed.
The x-ray itself
An x-ray technologist will take several x-rays of your gall bladder. After a radiologist has studied these x-rays, you may be asked to drink a white liquid. Afterward, more x-rays will be taken.
Your x-rays will be interpreted by a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in x-rays. The results will be reported to your doctor, who in turn will discuss them with you.