Courvoisier sign (hepatobiliary)

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 19 Apr 2023

Courvoisier sign or Courvoisier-Terrier sign states that in a patient with painless jaundice and an enlarged gallbladder (or right upper quadrant mass), the cause is unlikely to be gallstones and therefore presumes the cause to be an obstructing pancreatic or biliary neoplasm until proven otherwise 1.

History and etymology

The sign was described by Swiss surgeon Ludwig Georg Courvoisier (1843-1918) in 1890 1,2.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: pancreatic malignancy
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