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    Can the gall bladder be detected on a CT scan?

Posted on Wed, 2 Aug 2017 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Question: Why wouldn't my gall bladder show up on a CT scan ?
It has not been removed. Previous hidascan 5 years ago said it was functioning at 40% capacity. I have been having classic symptoms - cardiac problem ruled out.
Two doctors argued with me - telling me I don't have a gall bladder.
On original diagnosis tried to exclude fatty foods,which solved problem, until recently.
At the beginning of XXXXXXX 2017 I started having severe attacks, because over the last two years I have been eating tv dinners and recently went on a powdered donut binge.
After the third visit to the ER, (ignoring my requests to check my gall bladder), they did
a CT scan to check for an aortic tear - and then said "even though you don't have a gall bladder, we checked the bile duct, and you don't have a stone. Then they kept arguing with me about my "not having a gall bladder". Follow-up appointment with a
gastroenterologist was the same argument. It has never been removed. They finally agreed to do an ultra-sound. I think I passed the stone before they finally did the CT scan but am still unable to have even 2% milk on my cereal without my BP going up,
heart pounding, pulse 98 and severe upper back pain that radiates into my right shoulder. Besides seeing my cardiologist - I also went to an orthopaedic Dr. who both said it was probably my gall bladder, not heart or musculskelatal problems. Also, my temp. goes from 97.1 to 99.4 from day to day. (chills, night sweats, headaches @ night) and pain under ribs right side. I track my bowel movements and until 6-1-17
had regular daily perfect large S shaped stools (per Dr. Oz show) sometimes up to 22" total for one day. For a while there I didn't go at all for a day, and the next day it would be hard pellets. (TMI ?) Have been getting better though since changing diet back to
no fat, but am getting tired of eating just romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, and beets.
After the ultra sound, hopefully they will do a hida scan. If the function is less than 30% - will they remove it - or will I need further testing? And to repeat my original question - why wouldn't my gall bladder show up on a CT scan ? The nurse said it was probably contracting. If that is the case, wouldn't that also be a sign that it needs to be removed ? I am desperate. Please help me. Would appreciate any recommendations or referrals.

Thank you, and have a Happy 4th of July.
Answered by Dr. Ramesh Kumar 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
MRI should be done initially to see condition of gallbladder.

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for choosing HealthcareMagic for your query.
Have gone through your details and i appreciate your concerns.
As per your query answers are-

Untreated gallbladder stones, repeated episodes of cholecystitis or gallbladder wall inflammation causes gradual fibrosis, scar formation in gallbladder.This situation in medicine is called as attophic gallbladder.
History of pain fever chills are suggestive of recurrent cholecystitis (inflammation of gall bladder) as no timely action was taken the gallbladder has atrophied now.
HIDA sacn is not just about ejection fraction.
Normal ejection fraction should be more then 35%.
If EF is less then 35% and patient is symptomatic then cholecystectomy would be done.

Most likely your gall bladder has atrophied now.Atrophy is the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body. Causes of atrophy in your case can be recurrent infection or poor circulation to gallbladder.
When a part does not function well for long time then our body has a natural tendency to kill that part(Atrophy).Atrophied gallbladders can't be picked by CT scans.CT scan just uses X rays in 360 degree angle hence when there is atrophy CT is of no use.

Definitely yes fever pain nausea etc are all suggestive of fact that there is something wrong with hepatobilliary system.They are all natural signs given by our body to say that there is some thing grossly wrong.

I would suggest you to go for MRI scan of abdomen.
Why not CT?

See in MRI strong magnetic waves break the water contents of cells in body.A image is formed on computer depending on water contents for eg If Blood flow through a particular part of gallbladder decreases(Atrophic part has less blood flow) the water contents automatically decreases.Hence we get a clear picture of functions of hepatobiliary system.The less the water contents more atrophic is the part.
Before HIDA scan i would suggest you to go for a MRI.

Hope i answered your query well.
Feel free to follow up.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
Follow up: Dr. Ramesh Kumar 2 days later
I went today for an ultra sound. They said they could see my gallbladder, but I won't know details for 3 days. Just because they saw it, doesn't necessarily mean it's not atrophied though - right?

Is this an urgent matter , or life threatening ? I have already lost 8 lbs. and am dehydrated even though I drink lots of water. Severe pain started in XXXXXXX 2nd.

Thanks so much for your advice.
Answered by Dr. Ramesh Kumar 9 hours later
Brief Answer:
Follow up answer.

Detailed Answer:

Atrophy means degenerated.Dear patient this degeneration could be extensive or partial. Ultrasonogram is a old school test and chances to miss gall bladder problem are more.Its better to go for MRI which is a sure shot test especially for atrophied organs.
As explained above even atrophied organ can also be visualised.
Yes its urgency not emergency
Better to get a MRI abdomen done.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
Follow up: Dr. Ramesh Kumar 37 hours later
Just wanted to thank you. Wish you were here so I would get adequate treatment.

God Bless You

You wonderful man.
Answered by Dr. Ramesh Kumar 4 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Thank you and wish you a great luck and early recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
Answered by
Dr. Ramesh Kumar


Practicing since :1986

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