Pancreatic ultrasound

Pancreatic ultrasound can be used to assess for pancreatic malignancy, pancreatitis and its complications, as well as for other pancreatic pathology.

Fast the patient to reduce interference from overlying bowel gas, which may otherwise make visualisation difficult.

  • 3-6 MHz curvilinear ultrasound transducer
  • pancreatic body
    • anterior subxiphoid approach with the left lobe of the liver as an acoustic window
    • adjuncts to improve visualisation
      • deep inspiration
      • push abdomen out to make a "beer belly" 1
  • pancreatic head
    • in addition to the above, a right subcostal approach with the transducer angled medially may be useful 1
  • pancreatic tail
    • can be difficult to visualise
    • a water filled stomach or the spleen may be used as a window 1
  • variable echogenicity
    • in young patients, the pancreas is generally less fatty and therefore usually hypoechoic
    • with age, fatty replacement of pancreas can result in echogenicity similar to surrounding mesenteric fat
  • AP diameter
    • head: 34 mm
    • body: 29 mm
    • tail: 32 mm
  • length: 12-20 cm
  • pancreatic duct: ≤3 mm
Ultrasound - pancreas
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Article information

rID: 27420
Section: Approach
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • pancreas ultrasound

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Cases and figures

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    Normal transverse...
    Case 1: normal pancreas
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    Flow comes toward...
    Case 1: normal pancreas, colour Doppler
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    Annotated image o...
    Figure 1: Annotated normal pancreas
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