Ultrasonography of gallstones

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]


Choice of modality

How soon

  • Within a couple of hours if any of the following:
  • Otherwise, generally 4-8 weeks in Swedish practice.[1]


Ultrasound of biliary sludge, gallstones and borderline thickening of the gallbladder wall (3 mm).
  • Gallbladder: Gallstones are seen as hyperechoic objects, that leave an acoustic shadow. In case of similarity to a polyp (Ultrasonography of gallbladder polyps), turn the patient, making gallstones changing position, while polyps remain in the same place.
  • Related structures: Also exclude signs of cholecystitis, mainly pericholecystic fluid, edematous pericholecystic fat, gallbladder wall thickening, dilation of the bile duct (see below), and a sonographic Murphy's sign. Further information: Ultrasonography of cholecystitis.
  • A dilated common bile duct is where it measures over 8 mm.[2] It is distinguished from the portal vein and hepatic artery by absence of flow on Doppler. Further information: Ultrasonography of dilated bile ducts


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Radlines:Authorship for details.


  1. NU Hospital Group, Sweden
  2. Yunfu Lv, Wan Yee Lau, Haiying Wu, Shunwu Chang, NingLiu, Yejuan Li, Jie Deng (2015). "Etiological Causes of Intrahepatic and Extrahepatic Bile Duct Dilatation ". International Journal of New Technology and Research (IJNTR) 1 (8). Archived from the original. .