Relevance of sonographic artifacts observed during in vitro characterization of urocystolith mineral composition

Ralph C. Weichselbaum, Daniel A. Feeney, Carl R. Jessen, Carl A. Osborne, V. Dreytser, J. Holte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Nine pure mineral type canine uroliths (bladder or urethral origin only) were imaged ultrasonographically using 3.5 MHz, 5.0 MHz, and 7.5 MHz fixed focus, mechanical sector transducers in a urinary bladder phantom. The uroliths studied were those composed of 100% magnesium ammonium phosphate, calcium oxalate monohydrate, calcium oxalate dihydrate, calcium phosphate appatite, and calcium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate (brushite), ammonium acid urate, sodium acid urate, cystine, and silica. The occurrence of both reverberation/streak and acoustic shadowing artifacts were compared to urocystolith mineral type (classified by effective atomic number), urocystolith width, urocystolith height (thickness), and ultrasonographic imaging frequency. No predictable relationship was found between either of the artifacts seen beyond the urocystolith (reverberation/streak or the acoustic shadowing) and urocystolith mineral type. There was no statistical relationship between the occurrence of reverberation/streak artifact and the size (width or height) of the urocystolith or the ultrasonographic frequency. There was, however, a statistically relevant relationship between ultrasonographic imaging frequency and the occurrence of acoustic shadowing and between urocystolith height (thickness) and the occurrence of acoustic shadowing. However, regardless of ultrasound frequency, acoustic shadowing was observed less than 35% of the time in any of the urocystolith mineral types examined. Based on the imaging of the bladder phantom supporting apparatus (7.0 mm bolts covered by plastic), the accurate characterization of a curved object surface directly facing the transducer was found to be directly related to the frequency of sound used for imaging and at best predictably limited to curved vs flat. Accurate measurement of the maximum transverse dimension of an echogenic curved object or accurate characterization of the lateral borders of such an object was considered unlikely with general ultrasonographic equipment of the frequencies studied. Therefore, detailed architectural characterization of urocystoliths suitable for mineral composition prediction is considered highly unlikely with general pulse-echo ultrasonographic techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-446
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Acoustic shadowing
  • Artifacts
  • Canine
  • Comet tail
  • Reverberation
  • Ring-down
  • Ultrasonography
  • Urocystoliths


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