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Visualization of the right pleural effusion from the abdomen

Sometimes, pleural effusion may be noticed incidentally on abdominal scans. Below image shows transverse section of the liver with anechoic area in the posterior aspect, which corresponds to right lung/pleural area; black = fluid = pleural effusion. The bright line encircling the liver separating it from the fluid represents diaphragm.

Note the anatomic correlates – the ultrasound beam is actually oblique in between the two transverse sections shown. In such cases, go up and scan in the coronal plane to confirm your findings.

Below is a nice example showing the right pleural effusion in both transverse and coronal planes. Also note small amount of ascites in between the diaphragm and liver tissue.

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