Emergency Radiology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 81–86 | Cite as

Imaging of flank pain: readdressing state-of-the-art

  • Priyanka JhaEmail author
  • Brian Bentley
  • Spencer Behr
  • Judy Yee
  • Ronald Zagoria
Review Article


Pain resulting from renal and ureteral stones is a common cause for patients presenting in the acute setting. Since the late 1990s, computed tomography (CT) has been the initial imaging method of choice to evaluate patients with suspected ureteral stones; however, concerns regarding both radiation dose and cost-effectiveness have prompted investigations into a different imaging algorithm. Studies utilizing ultrasound have provided evidence indicating that it may be a more appropriate first step, with selective use of CT in selected cases, in the diagnostic work-up. Techniques have evolved with low-dose CT, dual-energy CT, and magnetic resonance urography emerging as useful in imaging of renal colic patients. This manuscript reviews the current literature on state-of-the-art imaging for acute flank pain and proposes a new imaging algorithm in the evaluation of patients with acute flank pain and suspected ureteral stones.


Renal stone Low-dose CT Ultrasound MRI Pregnancy Imaging protocol STONE score 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priyanka Jha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian Bentley
    • 1
  • Spencer Behr
    • 1
  • Judy Yee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ronald Zagoria
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical CenterSan FranciscoUSA

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