Biliary Dyskinesia

Biliary dyskinesia is a motility disorder of the gallbladder. The gallbladder squeezes bile into the intestines to help digest food. When the gallbladder does not squeeze appropriately it is called biliary dyskinesia and it can cause symptoms similar to gallstones. Patients typically do not have evidence of gallstones or infection.  


Some of the common symptoms are severe pain in the right or mid-abdomen that can radiate to the back, nausea, vomiting. Symptoms are usually worse after eating, especially fatty or greasy meals.


A HIDA (hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid) scan is the best way to diagnose biliary dyskinesia. This test looks at a value called the ejection fraction. If the ejection fraction is low, the gallbladder is not squeezing well. Usually patients have had an ultrasound or other study that does not show any gallstones before a HIDA scan is ordered. 


Surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is usually the best treatment for biliary dykinesia. Patients do not usually need to be admitted to the hospital for biliary dyskinesia. The gallbladder removal surgery can be performed as an elective outpatient procedure. There are some medications that can help with biliary dyskinesia, but usually surgery is the best treatment.