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Radiology/Alternative to CT and the use of barium?


QUESTION: Hello, I am due to have a CT scan tomorrow.
I have been told that I have a calcified vein in the pelvis (I also have a kidney stone in each kidney.I had a recent x-ray after a fall).
I would like to know if there is a more safer procedure to find out more about it that to be exposed to so much radiation and the barium?


I incidentally found your question in a general pool where questions are not assigned to anyone in particular and we do not get any email about it; hence it wasn't answered before.

I am not quite sure about your question...although by now it may be a mood point and you had your CT scan already.  but what I am not sure is that why you are having a CT scan with oral contrast.
Calcified vein in the pelvis is "normal" acquired finding with age that doesn't deserve any further look. As far as kidney stones go, that evaluation doesn't require oral contrast.  hence I am confused.  I would be more than happy to revisit your concerns but need to know what is being addressed by CT with oral contrast (ie barium)


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, I asked my doctor and she explained that the xray showed an elongated calcification in the pelvis and the Radiologist had recommended
a CT..She said it was small? 3mm (maybe, if memory serves me correctly)

Would that be a standard practice to recommend or...?
If so is there a safer procedure to find that information,like a sonogram
or something??


CT would be the way to evalutate further a calcification that was found on the xray; unless a radiologist is convinced is a vein (phlebolith) then nothing further is necessary.
Other common things that may show up are calcification in the appendix which is a finding that by itself doesn't cause any harm at all but in cases where there is inflammation in the appendix in the future (as in appendicitis), the calcification may promote obstruction of the appendix.  Potentially, other calcifications may be stones coming down from your kidneys but you would know 'cause it would be painful.
Ultrasound will not be able to detect calcification in the pelvis.
So, it is reasonable to get a CT and find out what that calcification represents...but I wouldn't lose sleep over it...


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks again..I'd forgotten to mention that the radiologist had
noted a unidentified (? .not sure if the first word is correct)
ideology...I'd just like to avoid doing the CT if I knew it was really unnecessary.Any risks of not doing it?

Sorry, somehow, your question fell off the list and I just found it.

the report referred to unidentified etiology..which is true, and hence since we don't know what it is, it is hard to assign risks and benefits to doing CT.
Overall one CT is not going to do any significant harm to your health.



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Michael K.


Almost any kind of questions regarding any types of radiology exams, procedures, meaning of radiology reports etc...


12 year experience in the field of radiology

American Society of Neuroradiology, Senior Member Society of Pediatric Radiology, Active Member

Radiology Seminars in pediatric neurology American Journal of Roentgenology American Journal of Neuroradiology

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