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Overview of echogenic masses and calcification in the fetal abdomen

Deborah Levine, MD
Section Editor
Lynn L Simpson, MD
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Prenatal ultrasound examination may detect echogenic masses and calcifications related to fetal abdominal or retroperitoneal organs and/or the peritoneal cavity. These findings may be transient or persistent. They may have no significant consequences or they may impact pregnancy management and postnatal management of the infant. This topic will describe the differential diagnosis of echogenic masses and calcifications observed during prenatal ultrasound examination of the fetal abdominal area.


The identification of abnormalities in the fetal abdomen should prompt a detailed survey for additional findings and review of the maternal history. In utero diagnosis can often be made after evaluation of the following:

Location of the mass

Echogenicity (eg, bright as bone, heterogenous)

Type of calcification, if present (focal or scattered)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 07, 2017.
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