Gallstones no longer showing on ultrasound!

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Has anyone had gallstones show up on one ultrasound then they're not showing on a repeat scan a few months later? Was admitted to hospital with severe pain over the gallbladder area, a high temperature and paler stools than normal. Had high white cell count which came down quickly within a day or two. Consultant wants me to have a HIDA scan now to check how well the gallbladder is working. Just confused where the gallstones have gone! Convinced the pain is gallbladder related due to location and symptoms

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, Scottie,

    Sometimes gallstones show up on ultrasounds and then sometimes they don't.  It really doesn't mean that they've gone, though it is possible to pass them.  It depends on lots of things, including the machine and the ability of the tech performing the scan.  Also, ultrasounds don't always pick up small stones and sludge.  

    The HIDA scan will help give your doctor the additional information needed.  Best of luck to you!  

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    • Posted

      Hi Lynda,

      Had been told the stones were small on the first ultrasound but to be careful with diet etc as it's often the small stones that cause the most problems as they can move about.

      Did you get a HIDA scan? Any idea what they actually do for it?

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    • Posted

      Ah, I'm in the US, hence this belated reply.  I didn't have a HIDA scan--they rarely do them in my part of the country.  They usually go by whether the ultrasound or CT scan show gallstones or other abnormalities, and whether you exhibit classic symptoms. I didn't, but got mine out.  It was filled with small stones and sludge.  

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  • Posted

    Hi Scottie, as Lynda said they can hide so really they need to do a CT scan or an mrcp which will show them up but I do know of people that have passed them. If your gallbladder isn't working correctly then you will have exactly the same symptoms as gallstones, I know I did. My gallbladder wasn't working properly so let them do the hida scan to check.

    Let me know how you get on.

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    • Posted

      my gallstones are larger and showed up on 2 ultrasounds, gallbladder full, but  did not show up on my CT scan at all.

      Usually the ultrasound is the best device to show not a CT, but yet a ultrasound can miss them too.

       

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply!

      What symptoms did you end up having? How long did you wait on the HIDA scan happening? I've no idea what they even do for that scan either!

      Did they take your gallbladder out when they realised it wasn't working properly?

      The waiting for answers is the worst! Can cope with the niggling pain but not the severe pain like that last "attack".

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    • Posted

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I had pain under the ribs on the right hand side that went around to my back and upto my shoulder blades. I had to cut out any high fat foods, not that I ate much of that anyway but I couldn't eat large amounts otherwise I'd be physically sick. I would feel nauseaous  most of the time. I ended up loosing over a stone in weight, I'm not a large person anyway so loosing that sort of weight was worrying.

      This all started in May last year and I had the first tests such as ultrasound, gastroscopy and CT scan over the summer then I had an mrcp and the HIDA scan in December. I didn't have to wait too long for the scan once my gastro decided that this was the direction that we needed to go in as I was also very tender on that side.

      My gallbladder was only working at 14% and it should be over 35% so they decided to take my gallbladder out in March.  It would've been earlier but my surgeon wasn't around in February. They did say that they didn't think that all my pain was due to a non functioning gallbladder so they tend to take the gallbladder out first and then deal with anything eilse afterwards. Unfortunately I've got nerve entrapment too which I've just had some treatment for but this isn't alway the case and alot of people are fine after they've had the gallbladder removed.

      I think the niggling, always there pain is awful, its very draining and even though family and friends do try and understand its not the same as someone who's been through the same which is why this site has been a lifeline for me and I've made some great friends through this site who have been there for me.

      Keep me updated with how you get on. Take care x

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    • Posted

      Symptoms sound very similar to yours apart from shoulder pain!

      Hoping it's not too long a wait to get the HIDA scan and see the surgeon. People definitely don't understand the pain and think you just want attention. Yeah I'd rather not be in hospital if I don't have to. Will just keep going back when the pain gets too much and hope that they finally take the gallbladder out. I'm positive it is a dodgy gallbladder!

      Will let you know when scan gets done and get the results. Thanks for all your help and advice x

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  • Posted

    The first time I went to the emergency room with abdominal pain etc the CT scan didn't show gallstones, it only said gallbladder walls appear contracted that was it.

    months later I did have an ultrasound of the liver/gallbladder/pancreas and the stones showed up so the CT scan didn't pick them up but the ultrasound did, so it's very possible they didn't show. 

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    • Posted

      The ultrasound showed the gallbladder was distended but said the wall of it was thin. Had severe pain over gallbladder when it was being scanned though and could have cried when the radiologist was pressing down the probe under ribs on right hand side!

      Did you end up in the ER a few times with the pain? Did you get your gallbladder removed eventually?

      Can see another emergency hospital trip in the near future!

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    • Posted

      so sorry you went through that. I ended up in the ER with pain in the right upper abdominal area right under rib cage I also had right shoulder blade pain and tingling radiating to the whole right shoulder blade area, it never went past my shoulder (no right arm pain) the shoulder blade was more severe than the abdominal pain, I also had nausea and wanted to throw up after every meal. They did a CT scan right then and it didn't show anything of importance but the radiologist made a note that the gallbladder wall look contracted and needed further tests. 

      Since I didn't get any more pain after that I got lazy and didn't have the ulytrasound for another few months and the gallstones did show in that ultrasound. They didn't note the size but it only says multiple stones found. the nurse told me they don't report the size when they are very small. 

      I have gotten very lazy with the follow up appointment with the surgeon, I called last week but couldn't get through and have not made my appointment yet. since they are supposed to be small I will ask for medicine to help them pass however I still have that annoying tingling in right shoulder blade, nausea after eating has subsided a lot since I'm a very lean healthy diet.

      The good thing about all of this is that thanks to the diet I don't have a fatty liver anymore and I have lost a ton of weight. But I do need to see my surgeon to follow up. Also I'm a little taken aback that the referral my gp gave was to a general surgeon, shouldn't I see a gastro first? but anyway I hope you get better.

      Are you getting your surgery done soon? I'm in the US

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  • Posted

    You've probably passed these gallstones. Ultrasound doesn't always pick stones up especially if they're small or sludge-like. Pale stools indicate jaundice. Sounds like your doctor knows what he's doing. Have the hida scan, and take it from there. Sounds gallbladder related.

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  • Posted

    Ok so HIDA scan was done a few days ago and showed sluggish gallbladder with ejection fraction of 32% which is lower than the limits. So basically gallbladder isn't working as well as it should! Have had RUQ pain for the past 4 days with temperatures of 37.7-38.4 since as well. Getting bloods checked tomorrow but clearly something isn't right! Fed up with the whole process now and just want gallbladder out and hopefully get back to normal as soon as!! Don't see surgeon for another couple of weeks though 👎🏼

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