While gallstones are often found during tests for other health conditions, some common tests for finding gallstones and gallbladder disease are:1
- Ultrasound: A technician glides a hand-held device over your stomach. The device sends sound waves to your gallbladder. The sound waves bounce off your gallbladder, liver, and other organs. The echoes make electrical impulses that create a picture of your gallbladder on a video monitor. If you have gallstones, the sound waves will also bounce off the stones and show their location.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: An X-ray produces cross-section images of the abdomen. Your doctor reviews the images to find out if you have gallstones.
- Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan): A radioactive chemical or tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. Using imaging, the tracer is followed through your body to detect stones or problems with your gallbladder.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): During ERCP, a thin tube with a camera at the end is inserted down your throat to look for gallstones. If found, the stones can be removed during the test. You will be lightly sedated, so it will not be painful.
Blood tests: Blood tests may be performed to look for infection, obstruction, pancreatitis, or jaundice.