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Doctor insights on: Difference Between Ultrasound And Ct Scan

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What's the difference between ultrasound and CT scan? Can someone explain the difference between an ultrasound and a CT scan? I'm going to have both done on my abdomen because of pain and discomfort that I've been experiencing.

What's the difference between ultrasound and CT scan? Can someone explain the difference between an ultrasound and a CT scan? I'm going to have both done on my abdomen because of pain and discomfort that I've been experiencing.

CT vs. Ultrasound: Ct uses xrays and special computers to make cross-sectional images of the body. Ultrasound uses soundwaves to generate pictures of body parts. Both are useful for evaluating abdominal pain, but each has certain advantages (e.g., ultrasound slightly better for evaluating gallbladder and female pelvic organs and uses no radiation; ct is better for evaluation of bowel and pancreas.). ...Read more

Dr. Michael Gabor
2,275 doctors shared insights

Sonogram (Definition)

An ultraound, also known as a sonogram, is a painless and relatively inexpensive imaging test that utilizes sound waves instead of ionizing radiation. There are no side effects. Ultrasound can give us two-dimensional, and in some applications three-dimensional, images of structures and organs in virtually any part of the body. In addition to diagnostic uses, such as evaluating abnormalities in the abdomen, pelvis, and breast, ultrasounds are commonly used to guide needle and catheter placement in a variety of surgical ...Read more


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Is an MRI or new 2013 CT scan any better than a new ultrasound technology? Not getting the difference beside higher cost.

Is an MRI or new 2013 CT scan any better than a new ultrasound technology? Not getting the difference beside higher cost.

No. Just different.: The various scanning methods: mri, ct, and ultrasound, are different... Not better than one another. So, one has to know what is being looked at and looked for. That's why the expertise of the primary doctor and the radiologist is so important. Together, they can decide which method and which machine is best for looking for a particular problem or disease. ...Read more

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My wife's ultrasound and CT scan report shows suspected lesion in the urinary bladder. Is there any non-surgical method to remove it?

My wife's ultrasound and CT scan report shows suspected lesion in the urinary bladder. Is there any non-surgical method to remove it?

Cystoscopy: There is an instrument called a cystoscope that is used to look inside the bladder, take biopsies, and perform procedures. This does not require surgery. Ask your doctor about it. If the lesion is inside the bladder, it's usually the first step. Best of luck! I hope it turns out to be nothing! ...Read more

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What's better for diagnosing pancreatic cancer.... Ct scan or mri? I've had normal ultrasound and CT scan with contrast. Still worried.

What's better for diagnosing pancreatic cancer.... Ct scan or mri? I've had normal ultrasound and CT scan with contrast. Still worried.

Why worried?: Why are you worried? Do you have symptoms or abnormal labs?

If the ct was normal and used a specific pancreas protocol, then an MRI of the pan creas may be the best next test. Since it does not use radiation, there is little risk for you. ...Read more

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What's better for diagnosing pancreatic cancer? Ct scan or mri? 34yr male. I've had normal ultrasound and CT scan with contrast. Still worried.

What's better for diagnosing pancreatic cancer? Ct scan or mri? 34yr male. I've had normal ultrasound and CT scan with contrast. Still worried.

CT, ERCP, MRCP: Thin-slice (3 mm) ct abdomen yields fine detail of pancreatic structures... Blood tests including tumor markers: ca-19-9, ca-15-3, and CEA can alert the clinician for ca. Also, ERCP w/ ductal brushings (though its endoscopy) can search for malignancy. Finally, mrcp may add to the clinical picture, but 64-bit ct is slowly encroaching on the former's superiority. ...Read more

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I am still so anxious about having pancreatic cancer. My lipase levels have fluctuated slightly over the past year — from 1 to 20 points over the reference range. I've had normal ultrasound and CT scan. Dr seems to think it's just me. But why??

Lipase barely high: 33 F anxious re pancreatic CA. Notes lipase has fluctuated slightly 1 yr. 1 to 20 points over norm. US&CT scan OK. Dr seems to think it's just me. ANS: I agree with Dr. Norm means 95% of normals are in n range but 5% aren't. Suspect you are in the 2.5% upper. All lab tests can vary 10% day to day. So if ur reading is 200 then expect it to vary by 20. Recommend u worry about other things. ...Read more

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Can a 19-year-old get fourniers gangrene? Testicle pain but ultrasound and ct scan normal. But still have testicle pain, hot testicles and they smell

Can a 19-year-old get fourniers gangrene? Testicle pain but ultrasound and ct scan normal. But still have testicle pain, hot testicles and they smell

Yes. : Fournier's Gangrene requires more than a painful, smelly scrotum. Fournier's is a necrotizing infection caused by bacteria. It can be a deadly disease, but I'm pretty sure you do not have it. I would suggest seeing a doctor about your scrotum/testicular pain and getting examined. ...Read more

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How much can an ultrasound, or CT scan cost?

See below: This usually depends on the specific test and varies among imaging centers and hospitals. The cost also varies with cash vs insurance payments. An ultrasound typically is in the $200 range and a ct is about $300-500 with cash payments. Contrast for ct adds more. It is best to call nearby imaging centers. Also, advisable to evaluate the type of equipments and not costs alone. ...Read more

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What can a CT scan show that an ultrasound can't show?

What can a CT scan show that an ultrasound can't show?

Better details: The resolution, details shown, on ct is more effective than that of ultrasound. Ultrasound shows liquids e.g. Cysts and effusion better and is cheaper but in obese patients ultrasound has limited penetration. Accordingly, ultrasound, in these patients, is usually replaced by ct that views fatty tissues better and penetrates as deep as needed for better resolution. ...Read more

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If I have CT scan and it was normal, do I need an ultrasound too?

OF WHAT? FOR WHAT?: Answer depends on what is being examined and what is being looked for. A normal ct of the chest would likely not provide information about the heart that an ultrasound could. A ct might miss some masses in the liver that an ultrasound could show and vice versa. ...Read more

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Ultrasounds showing mass near ovary but CT scan was normal?

See below: Ultrasound may evaluate the ovaries to better advantage when compared to ct. Occasional a small mass in the ovary may not be visible on ct. Also, a ct study without contrast (dye) enhancement may not evaluate the ovaries well. ...Read more

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Ultrasound showing a mass but CT scan normal?

Ultrasound showing a mass but CT scan normal?

Depends: This depends on the organ of interest. This is not uncommon with the ovaries and uterus as us has an advantage. This is same with the breasts as well. As for other organs in the abdomen, sometimes it may depends on the patient's body habitus or lack of intravenous contrast/dye that some finding may not be apparent on ct. ...Read more

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What can a pelvic CT scan show that an ultrasound doesn't?

What can a pelvic CT scan show that an ultrasound doesn't?

A few things: Better look at bowel, enlarged lymph nodes, areas of infection, and all the bones. Also, better characterizes many abnormalities seen on ultrasound. ...Read more

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Pelvic mass shown on ultrasound, but not CT scan, why?

Pelvic mass shown on ultrasound, but not CT scan, why?

Different imaging.: Sometimes things can be well demonstrated on ct and not ultrasound and vice versa. I'd need your studies to compare. Occaisionally, there are artifacts with either modality that can mimic a mass when there really isn't one. Bowel loops can often do this with either test. ...Read more

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Can ultrasound, ct scan or MRI detect cirrohsis of the liver?

Can ultrasound, ct scan or MRI detect cirrohsis of the liver?

Yes,: But sometimes the findings are not specific, and biopsy may be required if there is a question. ...Read more

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What to do about neck ultrasound clean so why was a CT scan ordered?

Findings on Exam?: Perhaps there were findings on a physical exam that were not explained by the ultrasound? Why not ask your doctor? ...Read more

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How reliable is ovarian cance that is being detected when you have a CT scan and ultrasound?

Depends: There are usually several findings that can be noted on a ct scan &/or sonogram that would make a diagnosis of ovarian cancer more likely. But it would still not be 100% certainty. Depending on specifically, what was seen — the diagnosis could be more (or less) likely to be a cancer. ...Read more

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If doctors order a CT scan after a normal ultrasound, what is the chance that the CT scan will not be normal?

It depends: Most of the time the ct will be normal or may have some incidental findings not related to the original symptoms. ...Read more

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Few 4mm in right, and few 3mm in left pole of kidneys, shows only on ultrasound and not CT scan? Why?

Few 4mm in right, and few 3mm in left pole of kidneys, shows only on ultrasound and not CT scan? Why?

Cysts: It sounds like you are talking about cysts by the measurements. If you had an ultrasound where cysts were seen, drs usually order a ct scan to confirm. Ultrasound is very sonographer dependent. This is why a more objective test like the ct scan is ordered. Most cysts are considered "incidentalomas" meaning they were found, but are not clinically significant. Hope this helps! ...Read more

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Why is an ultrasound better at detecting gallstones than a ct scan?

Less radiation: There is no radiation exposure from an ultrasound, while CT has moderate radiation risk. Usually, US gives the info needed with lower cost and no radiation. ...Read more

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Is a bladder ultrasound/ not a CT scan sufficient to show if you have bladder stones in your bladder?

Yes: The ultrasound can actually show non-calcified stones that may be more difficult to see on ct. Plus, there is no radiation exposure to your ovaries! ...Read more

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Could it be possible a stone to not show up on ultrasound and xray but showed up on CT scan?

Yes: U/s may "see" a dilated ureter, but the echo bounces off the stone. Ct has replaced the intravenouspyelogram (ivp). Blood in urine, microscopic or gross is key. ...Read more

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What kind of uterus problems can be seen on a CT scan and not an ultrasound?

Not many.: In general, US is superior to CT for most uterine pathologies. CT potentially better for defining congenital uterine anomalies and fibroid delineation, but if that is the clinical question, MRI is far superior to CT. ...Read more

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What kind of uterus problems can be seen on a CT scan and not an ultrasound?

What kind of uterus problems can be seen on a CT scan and not an ultrasound?

Not many.: In general, US is superior to CT for most uterine pathologies. CT potentially better for defining congenital uterine anomalies and fibroid delineation, but if that is the clinical question, MRI is far superior to CT. ...Read more

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What can detect things better inside the body a CT scan or MRI or ultrasound?, can a CT scan detect things better than ultrasound?

All different: They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Depends on your symptoms and what your doc is looking for. ...Read more

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I was diagnosed a possible non-protruding hernia -- CT scan or ultrasound, what to do?

I was diagnosed a possible non-protruding hernia -- CT scan or ultrasound, what to do?

CT: Although both ct and us can be used to evaluate a hernia, a ct provides much more detailed anatomic information. ...Read more

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I HAN AN ULTRASOUND DONE ON MY NECK. NOW THE DOC WANTS A CT SCAN. SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

I HAN AN ULTRASOUND DONE ON MY NECK.  NOW THE DOC WANTS A CT SCAN.  SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

See below: Based on only the information provided it's impossible to give you specific guidance. Would need to know why the tests were done?, any symptoms? And the result of the ultrasound........ But I understand your concern as it's only natural to worry about the possibility of discovering a serious condition in your body.

If you would care to discuss further: http://www.healthtap.com/dr-lipkin ...Read more

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Which is more useful in determining wether an ovarian cyst is cancerous CT scan or ultrasound?

CT always better: CT is always better than ultrasound but for screening purposes the ultrasound causes no radiation effect. If multiple CTs were performed over time the RT could be significant. The ultrasound can tell whether a lesion is solid or cystic and whether the latter is simple or complex. The CT can show detail not seen on ultraound. ...Read more

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Can ct scan and ultrasound miss a hernia? I can't feel a lump but have symptoms like hernia pain.

What kind?: Of hernia are you talking about? Are you meaning a hiatal hernia? I think the idea of an inguinal hernia is what you are after. The CT might not show it if it is not protruding as well as the ultrasound. If you feel no lump and the doc cannot you may have made the wrong dx. See your local surgeon for a second opinion. ...Read more

Dr. Andrew Berry
1 doctor shared a insight

Computed Tomography (Definition)

Ct uses xrays taken an 360 degrees combined with a computer to see"inside" the body. The table moves as the xray tube and detectors spin around the patient 10 times a second or more! the image shows excellent soft tissue detail, enhanced with injection of intravenous contrast or oral contrast. This way the body is shown in slices, in any plane, usually axially, but ...Read more


Dr. Michael Gabor
1,885 doctors shared insights

Ct Scan (Definition)

Computed tomography (ct scan) or computed axial tomography (cat scan), is a medical imaging procedure that utilizes computer-processed x-rays to produce tomographic images or 'slices' of specific ...Read more