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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bladder Bulge: Unifying Old and New Sonographic Bladder Wall Abnormalities in Ureterolithiasis

  • Author(s): Bomann, Scott
  • Seman, Michael
  • Sutijono, Darrell
  • Rogers, Bridget
  • et al.

As long as CT remains the first line imaging modality in suspected ureterolithiasis, emergency physicians will continue to perform the majority of renal colic ultrasound studies in a search for hydronephrosis. Hydronephrosis, however, is not always present and emergency physicians may not find it as useful as would be expected. Through this case series of seven patients, we present what we believe to be commonly present and easily acquired sonographic bladder wall findings in ureterolithiasis. These abnormalities are not routinely taught in emergency ultrasound and have not been reported in the emergency medicine literature. One variant, in fact, may be a novel finding unto itself. Due to their similar appearance, we propose to unify these findings under the name “bladder bulge.” This sign can be seen on axial views as an inward bulging or focal thickening of the bladder wall on the affected side, at the uretovesical junction. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(6):517-523]

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