What Scan for Kidney Stones Is The Best? Of course, it is for your doctor to decide what scan for kidney stones is the best for your health and can serve the purpose right! However, many medical experts & healthcare professionals have argued that a Computed Tomography or CT scan is the gold-standard method to identify and evaluate kidney stones.
Your doctors may recommend an x-ray scan in the first place, but in case you have smaller stones, they have to go for a CT scan to get a clearer and more in-depth image. Likewise, your doctor may also order an ultrasound in the preliminary stage because, unlike a CT scan, an ultrasound does not expose you to radiation. Yet again, the accuracy rate of ultrasound in diagnosing stones is much lesser than a CT scan.
What is a CT Scan for Kidney Stones?
A CT scan is the process in which multiple x-ray beams lay used to generate a 2D or 3D image of your internal body structure from various angles. This scan is non-invasive, fast, and does not require a hospital stay. But, yes, it does entail radiation exposure, even if minimal.
Doctors typically recommend an abnormal CT scan to trace and assess kidney stones. This scan can highlight the area from the upper side of your kidneys to the bladder base. A CT scan helps doctors to identify the exact location of the kidney stones. Simultaneously, it assists in evaluating the type, size, shape, and number of kidney stones.
In recent times, technological upgradation in this scanning modality enabled doctors to use low-dose or ultra-low-dose CT scans for diagnosing kidney stones. It means the stone diagnosis in these scans encompasses lesser radiation but yields equal accuracy.
Kidney stones appear bright white on a CT image. Thus, your doctor can avoid using contrast dye during the scan, which stands requisite for other CT scans, like a CT for cancer detection. A CT scan can also help the doctor check whether kidney stones have exited your body after the treatment course.
Why do Doctors Prefer a CT Scan Over Other Imaging Tests for Detecting Kidney Stones?
There lay several reasons for your doctor to prefer a CT scan over other imaging tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI. The primary reason is the accurate diagnosis of tiny kidney stones that a CT scan takes credit for! Besides, your doctor may recommend a CT scan because –
- A CT scan is easily accessible to the location and can generate images quickly.
- You can get an affordable diagnosis of kidney stones in case of a CT scan.
- A CT scan can reveal the accumulation of minerals in your kidney due to the stones or whether there is any blockage due to it! Such a facet can help doctors plan the best treatment course.
- Your doctor can fetch cross-sectional images of your kidney and thereby locate the stone’s position.
- A CT scan can provide valuable information about kidney stones when a previous test does not bring a conclusive report.
- With a CT image, your doctor can detect other problems that mimic kidney stones, such as appendicitis or diverticulitis.
- The superior spatial resolution in advanced CT scans can help doctors quantify the calcification volume in a kidney stone.
How Accurate is a CT Scan in Diagnosing Kidney Stones?
According to numerous studies, a CT scan is the most accurate test in assessing kidney stones today. Perhaps, it is the go-to diagnostic modality in the healthcare sector for kidney stones! A CT scan can correctly reveal kidney stones and their specificities in 95% of the cases. In fact, it shows if there aren’t any stones in your kidney, and the accuracy rate herein is 98%.
Besides, as per 2018 research, a low-dose CT scan holds 90% accuracy in examining kidney stones. The same study affirms that an ultra-low dose of CT reserves around 72 to 99% accuracy in identifying kidney stones. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that the new non-contrast spiral CT scan holds 93% sensitivity and 95% specificity in detecting kidney stones.
On the other note, many studies have shown that a CT scan shares equal accuracy as ultrasound in diagnosing kidney stones. Also, there exist studies that reveal deceiving situations where a CT scan overestimated the size of a kidney stone. Hence, how accurate a CT scan is for kidney stone detection is a matter of debate today!
When Do Doctors Prefer an Ultrasound or MRI Over CT Scan for Diagnosing Kidney Stones?
Although a CT scan is the prominent answer to the question of what scan for kidney stones is best, your doctor may prefer an MRI or Ultrasound over it. Are you wondering why so?
Well, your doctor may do so following multiple factors, like your age, medical history, pathological conditions, and more. Some common reasons why your doctor orders an MRI or ultrasound for kidney stones are as follows!
- You are pregnant, and the fetus growing in your body can get vulnerable to the radiation exposure involved in a CT scan.
- You aren’t an adult. And your doctor cannot expose you to even a low radiation dosage!
- You have a cancer history, and the radiation exposure in the CT scan can trigger a relapse of the cancerous growth and spread.
- You have some allergies that may increase due to the intake of radioactive tracers.
- Following your symptoms, your doctor predicts that the kidney stones you have is large and can easily be visible in an ultrasound.
- Your CT scan reports have, by chance, given ambiguous results.
Concluding Remarks from MRI Chandigarh
So, the bottom line is what scan for kidney stones serves best depends on the particular patient and the particular situation. Yet again, a CT scan lay mostly preferred to diagnose and treat kidney stones at their early stage.
If you have symptoms that indicate the presence of stones in your kidney, like chronic abdominal pain, frequent urination, or a burning sensation during urination, you must see a doctor.
If your doctor recommends an MRI for kidney stones in Chandigarh, and you want to get it at a discounted price, we can help! All you have to do is connect with us at [email protected]. We shall thereby connect you to the NABL-certified diagnostic labs in the city.