Teardrop sign (superior mesenteric vein)

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr M Venkatesh et al.

The teardrop sign of the superior mesenteric vein is one of the important signs in the local staging of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Its importance lies in its diagnostic, as well as prognostic, significance. This sign is used in assessing the resectability of pancreatic cancer.

Radiographic features


In pancreatic head carcinomas, local invasion occurs with encasement of the portal vein and its main tributary the superior mesenteric vein (SMV), this tethering of the mass to the superior mesenteric vein produces a teardrop appearance of SMV. The presence of the sign indicates the likely non-resectability of the tumor.

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Article information

rID: 26075
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Tear drop sign of superior mesenteric vein
  • Teardrop sign (SMV)
  • Tear drop sign (superior mesenteric vein)
  • Tear drop sign (SMV)
  • Tear drop superior mesenteric vein
  • Tear drop sign of SMV
  • Tear drop sign of superior mesenteric vein

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