Radiology In Plain English radiology reports explained

Pelvic Calcification on CT


Calcification is an accumulation of calcium salts in the body.  Calcifications can occur anywhere and commonly occur in the pelvis.  Calcifications are usually white on CT and are easy to detect because they standout from the surrounding tissues.  They are best seen on a non contrast CT.  Calcifications are often benign and are not a threat to health and life in many cases.  The cause of the calcification is often known based on the CT.

In the pelvis, calcifications from phleboliths are very common.  They occur as small clots in the veins which calcify.  They are seen as small white spots around small branches of pelvic veins.  They can sometimes mimic a passing ureteral stone.  This is because they are found next to the ureters in the pelvis.    They can sometimes be mistaken for bladder stones as well.

Calcifications are common in arteries.  This is called atherosclerosis and occurs as we age.  Calcifications in the pelvis are common in the prostate.  These are usually of no consequence and are benign.   Fibroids in the uterus often calcify as well.  Bladder stones are also usually calcified.

A stone passing through the ureter from the kidney will look like a small calcification.  The key will be to identify the calcification inside the ureter.  Some lymph nodes can calcify especially after treatment or some infections.   Ovaries can contain benign small calcifications.  Some tumor masses can contain calcifications.  These are usually associated with a mass and has other non calcified components.

Calcifications on CT can usually be accurately diagnosed.  This is because CT shows the pelvic anatomy clearly.  Calcifications are best identified on a non contrast CT.  They can be obscured or mistaken for a blood vessel after contrast is given through a vein.   Calcifications by themselves are often benign.  In some cases they must be treated like when they represent an obstructing stone in the ureter or are associated with a pelvic mass.

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About the author

A. Mendelson, MD
Radiology In Plain English radiology reports explained