Preliminary Diagnosis: Sialolithiasis

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

CT soft tissue neck with contrast.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosing sialolithiasis.


  • Able to detail the complex vascular, lymphatic, and soft tissue structures of the neck.

  • Able to detail a dilated salivary gland duct often seen in patients with sialolithiasis and able to localize any obstructing mineralized stone.

  • Able to detail any secondary complications or causative agents noted in patients with sialolithiasis.

  • A relatively inexpensive, fast imaging modality.


  • Exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?


V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosing sialolithiasis.


  • Highly portable and inexpensive imaging modality.

  • Does not expose a patient to ionizing radiation.


Not able to visualize posterior to bone or air.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

No specific contraindications to ultrasonography exist.

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