A phlebolith is a small, rounded calcification in a vein usually resulting from an old blood clot (thrombus). They are very common in the veins of the lower part of the pelvis.
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Low-fibre diets are thought to contribute to the formation of phleboliths by their effects on pressure inside the abdomen and their role in increasing clotting tendencies.
Phleboliths are frequently seen along the normal anatomical course of the lower ureter. They can sometimes be confused with kidney stones, as they occur in the same areas even though they have differing causes.
Phleboliths are composed of concentric calcified strata around a central kernel. they are typically round and smooth and appear with white opacity on an X-ray.
While phleboliths are typically found in X-rays, occasionally a CAT scan is used to distinguish kidney stones or tumours from pelvic phleboliths.
Phleboliths themselves are not harmful and are of no clinical importance. However, they may indicate other problems such as benign tumours in the colorectal area, stomach cancer or tumours of the gastrointestinal tract.
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