Abdominal spilled stones: Ultrasound findings

F. Torello Viera, E. Armellini, L. Rosa, V. Ravetta, M. Alessiani, P. Dionigi, S. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is the treatment of choice for uncomplicated symptomatic gallstones. Spillage of stones due to gallbladder rupture has been reported in up to 33% of all LCs, but clinical sequelae caused by dropped gallstones are uncommon. We recently observed two patients with retained stones after LC. Correct diagnosis was made by abdominal ultrasonography (US) in both cases. In the first patient, who presented with fever, malaise, and weight loss 18 months after LC, abdominal US revealed hypoechoic focal lesions containing hyperechoic images with posterior shadowing of the liver and spleen. US-guided aspiration biopsies of these lesions yielded purulent material, and the injection and aspiration of saline solution provoked rolling movements of the hyperechoic images. Laparotomy confirmed the diagnosis of abscess-containing spilled gallstones. In the second patient, multiple hyperechoic images with posterior shadowing were observed in the Morison pouch during a routine US examination. The diagnosis of retained stones was consistent with the history of gallstone spillage during LC performed 2 months previously and was confirmed by computed tomographic findings of hyperdense images in the Morison pouch. The patient was asymptomatic, and treatment was thus deferred. Our experience suggests that US can be very useful in the detection of gallstones spilled during LC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-567
Number of pages4
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Abdominal abscess
  • Gallstones
  • Gallstones spillage
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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