Kidney stone ultrasonography

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Amandeep Singh M.D.[2]


Abdominal ultrasound may be helpful in the diagnosis of nephrolithiasis Findings on an ultrasound suggestive of/diagnostic of nephrolithiasis include: echogenic or hyperechogenic foci, acoustic shadowing, twinkle artefact on colour Doppler, colour comet-tail artefact , and increased resistive index which signifies acute obstruction.


Stone in the renal pelvis(marked by asterix);Case courtesy of Dr Maulik S Patel,Source: radiopedia .org[1]
  • Abdominal ultrasound may be helpful in the diagnosis of nephrolithiasis Findings on an ultrasound suggestive of/diagnostic of nephrolithiasis include:[2][3]
    • Echogenic or hyperechogenic foci
    • Acoustic shadowing
    • Twinkle artefact on colour Doppler
    • Colour comet-tail artefact
    • Increased resistive index which signifies acute obstruction
  • Abdominal ultrasound can help in avoiding the effects of radiation at first in about 70% cases.[2]
  • It can be used to watch for complications such as hydronephrosis.
  • Abdominal ultrasound can be used to look for stones in adjacent areas such as ureters where it can be 100% specific.[4]


  1. Case courtesy of Dr Maulik S Patel,"">rID: 10079
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nicolau C, Claudon M, Derchi LE, Adam EJ, Nielsen MB, Mostbeck G, Owens CM, Nyhsen C, Yarmenitis S (August 2015). "Imaging patients with renal colic-consider ultrasound first". Insights Imaging. 6 (4): 441–7. doi:10.1007/s13244-015-0396-y. PMC 4519809. PMID 25994497.
  3. Brisbane W, Bailey MR, Sorensen MD (November 2016). "An overview of kidney stone imaging techniques". Nat Rev Urol. 13 (11): 654–662. doi:10.1038/nrurol.2016.154. PMC 5443345. PMID 27578040.
  4. Sheafor DH, Hertzberg BS, Freed KS, Carroll BA, Keogan MT, Paulson EK, DeLong DM, Nelson RC (December 2000). "Nonenhanced helical CT and US in the emergency evaluation of patients with renal colic: prospective comparison". Radiology. 217 (3): 792–7. doi:10.1148/radiology.217.3.r00dc41792. PMID 11110945.