Fetal cholelithiasis

Fetal cholelithiasis refers to formation of gallstones in utero. 

There occurrence is thought to be relatively common and is estimated at 1 in 300 pregnancies. They are almost always seen in the 3rd trimester 1. There may be slightly greater male predilection 7.

  • hemolytic conditions of the newborn
  • maternal hemolytic anemia(s)

They may be seen as cluster of minute echogenic juxta-hepatic foci at the expected position of the gallbladder. Shadowing as well as comet tail artifacts may also be seen.

In the context of gallbladder sludge, the gallbladder may be diffusely echogenic. It may be sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish true sludge from multiple small stones 11.

In most cases, they are not thought to be of much concern with most resolving within the 1st year of life. 

For calcific foci closely abutting the liver consider

Share article

Article information

rID: 13759
System: Obstetrics
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fetal gallstones
  • Fetal gallbladder sludge

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  •  Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  •  Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.