Gallstones Diagnosis

Gallstones often cause no signs or gallbladder symptoms. However, if you're having intense pain in the pit of your stomach or upper right abdomen, or other serious symptoms, your doctor may recommend diagnostic testing.

Diagnosing Gallstones at Fletcher Allen: ERCP, Imaging and Blood Tests

Fletcher Allen's physicians are specially trained in advanced technology to diagnose stomach and intestinal problems.

ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is a procedure used to take a close look at your bile ducts for blockages. ERCP can even be used to remove gallstones on the spot.

Other than ERCP, there are other tests to check your bile ducts for gallstones such as:

Ultrasound: An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses reflecting sound waves to take pictures of the inside of your body. We use these types:

  • Abdominal ultrasound is the best test to find gallstones. This test does not hurt.
  • An endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) can be used to see gallstones in the common bile duct. A doctor gently moves a thin, flexible, lighted viewing instrument (endoscope) with an ultrasound probe down the throat and through your stomach to examine the tubes that drain the gallbladder, liver and pancreas.

Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan may be used if your ultrasound does not show gallstones but if your doctor still thinks you have a problem with your gallbladder. In this test, a doctor injects dye into a vein in your arm. Then a machine takes X-rays as the dye moves through your liver, gallbladder, bile duct and intestine.

Blood tests can also reveal problems caused by gallstones such as an infection, jaundice or pancreatitis.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-8865.