Grossly Stable Meaning

Grossly stable is a term that can be used in medical imaging reports.   Grossly stable can be used to indicate that the imaging has not changed over time and when compared to prior tests.  Grossly stable can be applied to all types of imaging tests.

What is meant by grossly stable?

Grossly stable means that there is no obvious change.  Perhaps there is a limitation of some sort that doesn’t allow a full assessment or evaluation on the imaging.

Grossly stable implies to me that things look stable but the degree of confidence is lower than simply saying stable or no change.

What is the difference between grossly stable and stable?

I think that grossly stable is less firm or confident than simply stable.  The reason may be because of a limitation of some sort on the imaging or even the style of the interpreting radiologist.

What are some example of grossly stable in imaging?

Grossly stable may be used on an X-ray that is compared to a different test.  Say a chest X-ray is compared to a chest CT.  A chest X-ray is compared to a prior shoulder X-ray which includes a part of the lungs.  The comparison is not exactly comparable because of the differences in technique but allows some level of comparison.

Another example is a CT done with contrast compared to one done without contrast.  The CT done without contrast will not have as much detail and information as the one with contrast.  You can still make a comparison of the CT scans, but it is not an exact comparison.  I can see a radiologist saying grossly stable in this case.

Another example may involve a scan with artifacts compared to one without.  The artifacts on the current scan will make the evaluation and comparison limited.  This is because the artifacts make us not see the anatomy as well on the current scan.  Therefore the radiologist may say that the scan is grossly stable.

What can be done about a grossly stable conclusion?

I think that the interpreting radiologist will recommend further imaging or testing if he is not reasonably sure about the conclusion.   If the exam is grossly stable then the radiologist feels reasonably sure that no further testing is needed.

Does grossly stable mean that things may not be stable on my scan?

It’s possible but unlikely that the findings may not be stable.  The radiologist will however outline the limitations of the test and why comparison to a prior may be limited.  Grossly stable may also simply be the style of the radiologist and everything is indeed stable.

What if the scan concludes that findings are grossly stable but I am still concerned they are not?

All imaging tests should be interpreted along with how the patient is doing, any clinical history and other testing.  Imaging is one piece of information.

If you or your doctor think that things are not stable or you are not doing well, then further testing is indicated.  The test can be repeated or another imaging modality can be done.

Grossly stable meaning: summary

Grossly stable means that findings are stable but not as firm or confident as simply stable according to my interpretation.  This may be because of some limitations in comparison or simply the style of the interpreting radiologist.  Imaging should be interpreted in the context of how the patient is doing.  In some cases, further testing will be needed.


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