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Doctor insights on: Ultrasound Vs Ct Scan For Gallstones

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

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

Dr. Michael Gabor
2,249 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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My hida scan was 35%. The ultrasound shows possible few very tiny gallstones. The CT scan was normal with some intermittent gb symptoms. Should i get the gbremoved?

My hida scan was 35%. The ultrasound shows possible few very tiny gallstones. The CT scan was normal with some intermittent gb symptoms. Should i get the gbremoved?

Tough Call: This is not an uncommon situation--things are not always "black & white". If i were convinced that my patient was having "gallbladder symptoms", i would lean towards recommending surgery. Other pertinent info includes: any tenderness on exam? Did the cck injection reproduce the pain? Are the liver enzymes normal? Is my patient a good candidate for elective surgery? Hope this helps. ...Read more

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So Ihad a ultrasound and was told I had a 8mm gallstone. I later had a ct scan for another matter. It said no gallstones present. So do I have stones?

So Ihad a ultrasound and was told I had a 8mm gallstone. I later had a ct scan for another matter. It said no gallstones present. So do I have stones?

Yes you do: Ultrasound is much more sensative than is CT for looking at the gallbladder. Ultrasound will show the gall stones before they are seen on CT. ...Read more

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My doctor said that I have a distended gallbladder. I had a ct scan and ultrasound. Does this mean that I have gallstones? I have some shoulder pain

There are other: potential reasons for gall bladder distention besides stones. Right shoulder pain is a common referred pain from gall bladder disease. You will need to discuss these concerns with your doctor who has the full reports of your ultrasound and CT scan. ...Read more

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Why didn't I have to drink contrast die before i had my CT scan to check for gallstones?

Why didn't I have to drink contrast die before i had my CT scan to check for gallstones?

Because: It would not add any extra useful information to do so. Oral dye just lights up the intestine....Not gallbladder. ...Read more

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CT scan shows Gallstones... feel weak and no desire to eat. Dr. out of office for 1 week and not sure if I should wait.

CT scan shows Gallstones... feel weak and no desire to eat.  Dr. out of office for 1 week and not sure if I should wait.

UR waiting for what?: Stones in the gallbladder (gb) seldom cause symptoms unless they migrate into the neck of the gb (& block exit of bile) or into the common bile duct. Symptomless gallstones may be diagnosed by chance by imaging or during investigation for some other condition. Only 10% become symptomatic within 5 years of detection. Ultrasound, ct scan, mrcp finds stones; cck-hida scan can tell if gb is diseased. ...Read more

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Will a contrast dye CT scan always show small gallstones in bile ducts?

Will a contrast dye CT scan always show small gallstones in bile ducts?

No: Contrast does not usually enter the bile ducts or gallbladder except under certain unusual circumstances. Gallstones and bile duct stones can often be seen in a non contrast ct scan, but they will also be detected in a carefully performed ultrasound exam. ...Read more

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Having gallbladder attack but no gallstones noted last November on CT scan of abdomen. What else can cause an attack?

Having gallbladder attack but no gallstones noted last November on CT scan of abdomen. What else can cause an attack?

Gallstones: Sometimes gallstones are of lower density, similar to bile, and if they are small, they may be difficult if not impossible to visualize on CT scan. So you could still have gallstones. Ultrasound would be the beast way to visualize them. Functional gallbladder disease/gallbladder dyskinesia, without stones, could also mimic biliary colic. ...Read more

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What is a good over-the-counter meds for nausea everyday I have with gallstones that CT scan showed? I want to work without drowsiness.

What is  a good over-the-counter meds for nausea everyday I have with gallstones that CT scan showed? I want to work without drowsiness.

Meds may not help: Although some patients find Prilosec otc or zantac (ranitidine) helpful, it is best to discuss your gallstone condition with your physician, gastroenterologist or general surgeon. ...Read more

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Per CT scan my gallbladder (GB) is filled with gallstones , gallstones within the neck of GB. no ductal dilatation. can I avoid surgery?

Per CT scan my gallbladder (GB) is filled with gallstones , gallstones within the neck of GB. no ductal dilatation. can I avoid surgery?

Avoiding surgery: Sooner or later your gallstones will create a problem, which may be an emergency, It is best to consult your surgeon and have the gallbladder removed before it creates a big problem ...Read more

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Pain in upper left abd. Radiating to back and upper mid abd. Gallbladder removed yrs ago. But feels like gallstone pain. Ibs? Hurts so bad.ct scan nor

Pain in upper left abd. Radiating to back and upper mid abd. Gallbladder removed yrs ago. But feels like gallstone pain. Ibs? Hurts so bad.ct scan nor

Muscle spasm?: I have seen several people over the years also describing this associated with a "lump" that goes down with self massage. Sounds like a hernia, but proven many times not to be. Not the right location for a hernia either. The most likley cuse is intermittent muse (alprostadil) spasm, which can be treated with over the counter meds, massage, and maybe muscle relaxing meds. Ask your primary about this. ...Read more

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gallbladder needs to be removed due to gallstones. A CT scan revealed a 3.5cm solid mass abuts the pancreas. they said no cancer but can't identify ?

 gallbladder needs to be removed due to gallstones. A CT scan revealed a 3.5cm solid mass abuts the pancreas. they said no cancer but can't identify ?

Requires surveillanc: Any soft tissue mass which is growing can be due to cancer. A biopsy of such a mass is required before we can find out the nature of this mass. I would recommend an interval reevaluation with a repeat CT scan in 2 months time, in order to determine if it is growing in size. If it is not growing over 6 months, it is unlikely to be cancer. A PET scan can give an answer sooner, but it is costly. ...Read more

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Would an abdominal CT scan show a gallstone or blocked bile duct?

Would an abdominal CT scan show a gallstone or blocked bile duct?

Possibly: The best gallbladder test is an ultrasound of the abdomen, and if there is concern for a blockage, a HIDA scan (pronounced hide-a) may be ordered. This HIDA scan will also show if the gallbladder is functioning normally. If there is abnormal function one can have symptoms even if no gallstones are present. CT can miss most of this, so its not ordered as a first test if gallbladder a concern. ...Read more

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Would a CT scan of the chest abdomen and pelvis see something wrong with the gallbladder? And would it se gallstones present or previous? Had normal CT scan 2 weeks ago but I have bad pain right there

Yes: A ct scan will pick up most gallstones as well as thickening and swelling of the gallbladder and bile ducts. The only thing a ct scan does a lousy job with is detecting if the gallbladder has a hard time emptying bile. This can cause pain as well. You need a hida scan to detect this. ...Read more

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Will a CT scan show gallstones/ other gall bladder problems as well as stomach ulcers? What about a urine and blood test?

Will a CT scan show gallstones/ other gall bladder problems as well as stomach ulcers? What about a urine and blood test?

Yes and no: Ct is fairly good at evaluating the gallbladder for stones or infection/inflammation. It is poor at evaluating the stomach for ulcers. This typically requires an upper endoscopy. ...Read more

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Could a contrast dye cat scan always show small gallstones in bile ducts?

Could a contrast dye cat scan always show small gallstones in bile ducts?

No: Gallstones and biliary duct stones are often not visible on ct. If there is a need, mrcp is the better choice for seeing them. ...Read more

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I was told I have a spasming gallbladder but the CT and ultrasound showed no gallstones or sludge. But I am still in pain in my right side.

I was told I have a spasming gallbladder but the CT and ultrasound showed no gallstones or sludge. But I am still in pain in my right side.

Need a HIDA scan: You may have gallbladder dyskineasia, a functional disorder of your gallbladder. A HIDA scan can check the under or over functioning which both may lead to your symptoms. See your Gastroenterologist. ...Read more

Dr. Barbara Lavi
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
1,850 doctors shared insights

Ct Scan (Definition)

Ct scan uses data from a beam of xrays and reconstructs a cross sectional image of your body. It is a high dose of xrays and used only when the benefits outweigh the risk. Cancer risk is 1 in 500 in children. Also using iodinated contrast might cause transient renal failure in about 5% of patients. (contrast induced nepropathy) most do not explain this to the patient as ...Read more