Ultrasound of the pancreas: Update and controversies

A. Martínez-Noguera, E. Montserrat, S. Torrubia, J. M. Monill, P. Estrada

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The pancreas is an organ that often presents difficulties for ultrasound exploration due to the interference of abdominal gas in the stomach and duodenum. However, with technical experience and the use of a variety of examination techniques, such as filling the stomach with water or cellulose suspension, changing patient's position, or scanning at different moments of respiration, such as suspended inspiration or expiration, it can be seen in its totality in a high percentage of patients. In our opinion, especially as new technical advances have been incorporated into US equipment (color power Doppler, harmonics, and US pulse inversion) and new contrast agents are available, US can compete with CT in this field. Ultrasound can be as useful as CT in most patients with pancreatitis and pancreatic neoplasms. Furthermore, Endoscopic sonography (ES), as well as intraoperative and laparoscopic techniques, are also excellent for visualizing malignant pancreatic lesions and have a special role in preoperative staging. Finally, US is a good technique to guide fine-needle biopsy of the pancreas and for aspiration of inflammatory fluid collections and abscesses. Although CT has played a major role to date, US is presently the most widely available and economical means to visualize the pancreas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1594-1606
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2001


  • Inflammatory lesions
  • Interventional procedures
  • Neoplasms
  • Pancreas
  • Ultrasound


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