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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Ultrasound vs. ct scan for liver


 Ruthiejb - Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:52 pm

My husband had an abdominal ultrasound to try to find the source of lower right abdominal pain. The report stated that his liver was enlarged. The next day he had a contrast cat scan for which the report said that his liver appeared "grossly normal." My question is, which test is the more reliable one for his liver? The ultrasound report which stated that it was enlarged, or the cat can which stated it was normal? The pain turned out to be appendicitis which the CT scan picked up. Thank you.
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:53 pm

User avatar Hello,

Ultrasonography US examination of the liver is highly sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of liver lesions. However, in different studies, CT scanning of the liver was proved to be superior in specificity, sensitivity, and accuracy compared to Ultrasonography US.

Ultrasonography , depends allot on the physician interpretation while performing the test. Thus, in general physicians recommend US at initial examination being very sensitive, the least expensive, and its availability. Other tests are then requested based on US results and the clinical status of each patient.

Since the CT scan confirmed that you husband has normal liver and keeping in mind that there is personal variability in the size of organs (there is always a range), I can say that you can be reassured and there is no need for further investigation.

I would advise you to follow up with his doctor. Only by complete history and physical examination the correct diagnosis and approach can be reached.

Please keep us updated.
Best regards.

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