Radionuclide scanning can be a useful adjunct to ultrasonography for patients with right upper quadrant abdominal pain. When the ultrasound results are negative or inconclusive in a patient with suspected cholecystitis or cystic duct obstruction, radionuclide scanning may be diagnostic in the absence of stones. These studies involve several hours for the radioisotope to localize to the affected area and may be utilized best in an emergency department observation unit or inpatient setting.
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