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Peritoneum and Mesentery 

Peritoneum and Mesentery
Chapter:
Peritoneum and Mesentery
Author(s):

C. Daniel Johnson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199862153.003.0010
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  1. Cases 10.1–10.27 Fluid and Masses

  2. Cases 10.28–10.46 Hernias

    • External

    • Internal

    • Diaphragmatic

  3. Cases 10.47–10.51 Miscellaneous

Case 10.1

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Sonogram. A and B. A large amount of anechoic fluid surrounds the liver and bowel loops in the right lower quadrant.

Contrast-enhanced CT. C and D. A large amount of fluid is present in the peritoneal cavity. The liver has a cirrhotic configuration, and the spleen is enlarged.

Differential Diagnosis

Simple ascites

Diagnosis

Simple ascites

Discussion

In the vast majority of cases, ascites is a transudate and due to cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Cardiac failure and peritoneal carcinomatosis are other common causes of ascites. Rarely, ascites is due to blood, bile, chyle, pus, or urine. Paracentesis is a safe, easy, and cost-effective method to determine the cause of ascites. Ascites due to cirrhosis and portal hypertension usually can be treated medically. Refractory ascites may require frequent large-volume paracenteses, a transjugular intrahepatic portacaval shunt, or a portosystemic surgical shunt.

Small amounts of ascites often accumulate in the hepatorenal recess (Morrison pouch) or pelvic cul-de-sac. Large amounts of ascites, as in this case, result in medial displacement of bowel loops. Uncomplicated ascites should be anechoic on sonography.

Case 10.2

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Sonogram. A and B. A large amount of ascites is present around the liver and bowel. The ascites contains diffuse low-level echoes.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Complicated ascites

  2. 2. Simple ascites

Diagnosis

Complicated ascites (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis)

Discussion

Simple transudative ascites due to portal hypertension and cardiac failure usually is sonolucent. Ascites complicated by hemorrhage, infection, or malignancy often contains floating debris or septations. The complicated ascites in this case was due to infection (peritonitis). Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) occurs almost exclusively in patients with cirrhosis. This spontaneous infection is thought to develop from translocation of any organism (most common in Escherichia coli) from the gut, into the mesenteric lymph nodes, and finally into the ascites. Patients usually present with fever and an increased leukocyte count. SBP can be deadly, but less than 5% of patients die if appropriate antibiotics are administered in a timely fashion.

Case 10.3

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A large fluid collection is present in the anterior peritoneal cavity. The fluid is loculated and does not extend around the spleen or into the left paracolic gutter. The fluid collection has a thick, enhancing rind.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Intraperitoneal abscess

  2. 2. Simple ascites

Diagnosis

Intraperitoneal abscess

Discussion

Intraperitoneal abscesses usually develop from contaminated material related to perforation of a viscus (eg, perforated gastric or duodenal ulcer, appendicitis, diverticulitis, biliary disease) or as a result of direct contamination during operation. The most common organisms found in intraperitoneal abscesses are Escherichia coli, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, or Klebsiella or a mixture of these organisms. Patients almost always present with pain, fever, and an increased leukocyte count.

A loculated fluid collection with an enhancing rind is strongly suggestive of an abscess. Bubbles of gas within the loculated fluid collection (approximately 30% of cases) are even more specific for an abscess. Abscesses usually contain multiple septations and complicated fluid with low-level echoes on sonography. Depending on the cause of the abscess, ultrasonography- or CT-guided percutaneous drainage or surgery is the primary treatment, in addition to intravenous antibiotics.

Findings in this case that point away from simple ascites are the loculated nature of the fluid, the way the fluid compresses the bowel posteriorly rather than displacing it medially (case 10.1), and the thick, enhancing rind around the fluid.

Case 10.4

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Unenhanced CT. A through C. High-density material is present around the lateral inferior tip of the spleen. Moderate amount of slightly high-density ascites throughout the peritoneal cavity.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Hemoperitoneum

  2. 2. Simple ascites

Diagnosis

Hemoperitoneum

Discussion

The attenuation of peritoneal fluid often gives a clue to its composition. Simple transudative ascites usually has attenuation values between –10 and +10 Hounsfield units (HU). Exudative ascites usually is more than +15 HU. Blood in the peritoneal cavity usually is about +45 HU. High-density blood implies that the bleed is recent. Layering blood of different ages (different attenuations) often also is present in hemoperitoneum. The peritoneal blood in this case was due to a laceration of the inferior aspect of the spleen during a motor vehicle accident. The high-attenuation clot (“sentinel clot”) adjacent to the spleen is often a clue to the location of the bleeding site.

Case 10.5

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. The peritoneal cavity is filled with low-density masses. The ascites contains numerous calcific arcs and rings and internal septations and results in a scalloped contour along the liver and spleen.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Pseudomyxoma peritonei

  2. 2. Simple ascites

Diagnosis

Pseudomyxoma peritonei

Discussion

Pseudomyxoma peritonei refers to a gelatinous (mucinous) ascites that occurs as a result of a ruptured appendiceal mucocele or intraperitoneal spread of mucinous tumor, including mucinous adenocarcinomas of the ovary, appendix, colon, and, rarely, the pancreas. Pseudomyxoma peritonei can be differentiated from simple ascites on CT by the scalloped appearance of the liver margin, caused by the mass effect of the mucinous implants. High-attenuation septa and punctate or ringlike calcifications often are present within mucinous ascites in large-volume disease, as in this case. When large-volume disease is present, the source of the pseudomyxoma peritonei often is difficult to determine. This patient had pseudomyxoma peritonei due to an appendiceal mucinous cystadenocarcinoma.

Case 10.6

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. Enhancing nodules are seen along the peritoneal surfaces with marked nodular thickening of the omentum. A small amount of associated ascites also is present.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Peritoneal carcinomatosis

  2. 2. Malignant mesothelioma

  3. 3. Tuberculous peritonitis

Diagnosis

Peritoneal carcinomatosis (with omental caking)

Discussion

Peritoneal carcinomatosis (metastasis) most commonly is caused by ovarian, colon, stomach, or pancreatic carcinoma. The natural flow of ascites in the peritoneal cavity determines the location of malignant peritoneal seeding. The most common sites of peritoneal carcinomatosis are the pelvic cul-de-sac, the right paracolic gutter, the root of the mesentery at the ileocecal junction, and the sigmoid mesocolon (case 10.7).

The omental surface is also a common location for tumor seeding. Eventually, the omental fat can become completely replaced by tumor, resulting in a thick, confluent, soft tissue mass, often referred to as “omental caking.” Omental caking of tumor displaces the bowel posteriorly away from the anterior abdominal wall, as in this case. Peritoneal malignant mesothelioma and tuberculous peritonitis could give a similar CT appearance, including the omental caking.

Case 10.7

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. Several peripherally enhancing, centrally necrotic masses are present along the sigmoid mesentery and sigmoid colon.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Colon carcinoma

  2. 2. Invasive peritoneal metastases

  3. 3. Primary peritoneal tumor

  4. 4. Peritoneal abscesses (diverticulitis)

Diagnosis

Invasive peritoneal metastases

Discussion

Peritoneal metastases may occur through direct invasion of the adjacent peritoneal reflections by tumor involving a contiguous abdominal organ. This is most common with primary tumors of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, or stomach. Alternatively, peritoneal metastases may occur by intraperitoneal seeding of tumor cells, which spread according to pathways of ascitic flow. The most common sites of peritoneal carcinomatosis are the pelvic cul-de-sac, paracolic gutters, and the sigmoid mesocolon (as in this case). The most common tumors to spread in the peritoneum by seeding are ovarian and gastrointestinal tumors. The peritoneal metastases in this case were from a primary renal cell carcinoma. The patient presented with gastrointestinal bleeding due to invasion of the peritoneal metastases into the sigmoid colon. Clinical history is important in this case to determine the likely diagnosis. Other peritoneal tumors or even a complicated perisigmoid abscess due to diverticulosis could give a similar CT appearance.

Case 10.8

Findings

T1- and T2-weighted, diffusion, post-contrast–enhanced MRI near the dome of the liver. A through D. Multiple extrahepatic masses are present about the dome of the liver.

T1- and T2-weighted, diffusion, post-contrast–enhanced MRI near the splenic flexure of the colon. E through H. Multiple masses are present about the peritoneal surface. The lesions are best seen on the diffusion images.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Peritoneal metastases

  2. 2. Tuberculous peritonitis

Diagnosis

Peritoneal metastases

Discussion

MRI can also be used for the detection of peritoneal masses. Generally, these are of low signal intensity on T1-weighted images and high signal intensity on T2-weighted and diffusion images and enhance after contrast administration. Diffusion images can be helpful to identify small metastases that may be overlooked with other pulse sequences.

Case 10.9

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. Multiple enhancing soft tissue masses are present along the peritoneum adjacent to the liver and spleen and in the mesentery. A large amount of ascites also is seen.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Peritoneal metastases

  2. 2. Primary peritoneal mesothelioma

Diagnosis

Primary peritoneal mesothelioma

Discussion

Mesothelioma is a rare neoplasm affecting the pleura (75% of cases) and peritoneum (25% of cases). Most peritoneal mesotheliomas are malignant and occur in male patients with an initial asbestos exposure 30 to 40 years before development of tumor. Widespread progression of malignant cells on peritoneal surfaces results in copious fluid production (ascites). Because of the great variability in the histologic appearance of mesothelioma cells, the diagnosis often is difficult for pathologists. Laparotomy with extensive tissue sampling often is necessary to make the diagnosis. Treatment consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Peritoneal metastases could give an identical radiographic appearance.

Case 10.10

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A huge low-attenuation peritoneal mass is present, containing multiple thin, enhancing septae.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Pseudomyxoma peritonei

  2. 2. Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma

  3. 3. Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma

  4. 4. Tuberous peritonitis

  5. 5. Abdominal lymphangioma

Diagnosis

Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma

Discussion

Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma is a very rare benign neoplasm arising from the mesothelial cells of the peritoneum. Unlike malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, benign cystic peritoneal mesothelioma is not associated with prior asbestos exposure and occurs mainly in young women (mean age at presentation, 37 years). Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma appears as a low-attenuation (on CT) or anechoic (on ultrasonography) multiloculated cystic mass filling the peritoneal cavity. Treatment of cystic peritoneal mesothelioma is surgical resection. Because adherence of the neoplasm makes complete removal of the tumor difficult, additional operations often are necessary. Despite this problem, the prognosis in patients with cystic peritoneal mesothelioma is good.

Case 10.11

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A spiculated soft tissue mass with associated calcification is present in the mesentery. There is thickening of an adjacent loop of ileum.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Carcinoid tumor

  2. 2. Retractile mesenteritis

  3. 3. Desmoid tumor

  4. 4. Metastases

Diagnosis

Carcinoid tumor

Discussion

Carcinoid tumor is the most common primary tumor of the small bowel and arises from enterochromaffin cells of Kulchitsky in the crypts of Lieberkühn. The primary small bowel tumors are usually small (<1.5 cm). Growth of these tumors into or through metastasis to the mesentery induces an intense fibrotic reaction resulting in the so-called sunburst appearance on CT. Calcification is found in 70% of these foci of mesenteric carcinoid tumor. The triad of a calcified mesenteric mass, radiating strands, and adjacent bowel wall thickening or mass is highly suggestive of carcinoid tumor. Retractile mesenteritis can have a similar CT appearance. Desmoid tumors usually occur in Gardner syndrome after total colectomy. Metastases rarely incite a similar desmoplastic reaction.

Case 10.12

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A. Multiple low-attenuation masses with peripheral enhancement are present in the liver. B. A low-attenuation mesenteric mass is present with radiating strands.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Carcinoid tumor

  2. 2. Metastases

Diagnosis

Metastatic carcinoid tumor

Discussion

Ninety percent of small bowel carcinoid tumors occur in the ileum. Extension of tumor into the adjacent mesentery with serotonin production induces a typical desmoplastic response. The radiating strands (sunburst appearance) of mesenteric carcinoid represent thickening along the neurovascular bundles and result in mesenteric retraction around the tumor. Mesenteric metastases from other tumors rarely cause this desmoplastic response. In addition, peritoneal or mesenteric metastases from other primary tumors usually are multiple, as opposed to the solitary lesion of carcinoid. Surgical resection of mesenteric carcinoid is performed to prevent complications of obstruction and ischemia. Because of vascular encasement around the tumor, segmental resection of the adjacent small bowel often is necessary. A primary carcinoid tumor, which may be small and multicentric, frequently is found in the resected intestinal specimen. Symptoms attributable to the carcinoid syndrome usually are found only in patients with hepatic metastases. Patients with hepatic metastases can have tricuspid valve insufficiency due to direct release of serotonin into the hepatic veins.

Case 10.13

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

A. Small bowel follow-through. A mass within the small bowel mesentery displaces multiple small bowel loops.

B. Contrast-enhanced CT. A large, poorly defined calcified mesenteric mass displaces small bowel loops.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Carcinoid tumor

  2. 2. Retractile mesenteritis

  3. 3. Retained foreign body

Diagnosis

Retractile mesenteritis

Discussion

Retractile mesenteritis is a disease of unknown cause. It has been given various names (panniculitis, mesenteric lipodystrophy, sclerosing mesenteritis, or retractile mesenteritis) depending on the predominant histologic features of inflammatory cells, fat necrosis, or fibrosis. A mesenteric mass of variable size usually is present, although panniculitis may initially present with mesenteric soft tissue stranding without a mass. Dense calcification of the soft tissue mass is common. Secondary tethering of the bowel and obstruction can occur. Occasionally, vascular encasement and bowel ischemia can develop. Differentiation of this process from a carcinoid tumor may not always be possible. Spokewheel thickening of the mesentery and associated bowel wall thickening usually are features of a carcinoid tumor. A radiographically invisible retained foreign body also could cause inflammatory changes in the mesentery, mimicking retractile mesenteritis.

Case 10.14

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. An ill-defined low-attenuation mass is present in the small bowel mesentery. The mass has a large amount of calcification and tethers adjacent bowel loops.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Retractile mesenteritis

  2. 2. Carcinoid tumor

Diagnosis

Retractile mesenteritis

Discussion

Retractile mesenteritis is a benign idiopathic disorder due to fibrous evolution of mesenteric panniculitis. Men in their fifth and sixth decades of life most commonly are affected. The most common appearance at CT is a solitary, ill-defined mass at the root of the small bowel mesentery with marked associated calcification. Tethering of adjacent bowel loops and vascular encasement also are frequent. Differentiation of retractile mesenteritis from a mesenteric carcinoid metastasis (cases 10.11 and 10.12) is not always possible. A mesenteric mass this large would be unusual for a carcinoid tumor. In addition, large carcinoids are nearly always associated with liver metastases.

Case 10.15

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A mass is present in the mesentery in the left upper abdomen, and a second, larger, mixed-attenuation mass is in the anterior peritoneum. Postoperative changes of total colectomy with ileostomy in the right lower quadrant.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Metastases

  2. 2. Desmoid tumors (Gardner syndrome)

Diagnosis

Desmoid tumors (Gardner syndrome)

Discussion

Gardner syndrome is a variant of familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome with associated bone and skin abnormalities, mesenchymal tumors, and desmoids. The tubulovillous adenomas in the colon usually are evident by age 20 years, and colorectal cancer develops in nearly all patients without total proctocolectomy.

Desmoid tumors are benign fibrous neoplasms that usually occur in patients with Gardner syndrome after total colectomy. Desmoids can occur within the mesentery or in the abdominal wall and are multiple in 75% of cases. Although benign, these tumors often are locally aggressive and frequently recur. Because of this, surgery usually is reserved for life-threatening complications, including obstruction, infected fistula formation, or hemorrhage. Operation often results in the development of larger, more aggressive desmoid tumors and the increased possibility of complication.

Case 10.16

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A very large mixed-attenuation mass is present in the mesentery of the lower abdomen.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Lymphoma

  2. 2. Metastatic adenopathy

  3. 3. Desmoid

  4. 4. Other primary mesenchymal mesenteric tumor

Diagnosis

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor

Discussion

Primary neoplasms of the mesentery are extremely rare (approximately 1 case per 250,000 population) and are usually of mesenchymal origin. Most of these tumors are large when detected because of the large potential space in which they can grow. Approximately two-thirds of these primary mesenteric tumors are benign, and the most common primary mesenteric tumor is the desmoid tumor (case 10.15). Desmoid tumors occur in approximately 25% of patients with Gardner syndrome. Other benign primary mesenteric tumors include lipomas, benign gastrointestinal tumors (GISTs), hemangiomas, and neurofibromas. The malignant primary mesenteric tumors include hemangiopericytomas, fibrosarcomas, liposarcomas, and malignant GISTs. These tumors usually are treated with surgical resection. Mesenteric lymphoma (case 10.17) is far more common than primary mesenteric tumors, but the mixed-attenuation nature of this mass and the lack of visualized retroperitoneal adenopathy are unusual in lymphoma.

Case 10.17

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A large confluent soft tissue mesenteric mass encases branches of the superior mesenteric artery and vein. Retroperitoneal adenopathy also is present.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Mesenteric lymphoma

  2. 2. Metastatic lymphadenopathy

Diagnosis

Mesenteric non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Discussion

Lymphomatous involvement of the mesentery occurs in 5% of cases of Hodgkin lymphoma and in up to 50% of cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The classic appearance of mesenteric lymphoma is seen in this case, with a lobulated confluent soft tissue mass encasing the superior mesenteric vessels, creating the sandwich or hamburger sign. Concomitant retroperitoneal adenopathy, inguinal adenopathy, and splenomegaly often are present in cases of mesenteric lymphoma. Nodal lymphomatous disease in the abdomen often responds well to chemotherapy. Other causes of mesenteric lymphadenopathy include metastatic disease, infectious or reactive adenopathy, and granulomatous disease.

Case 10.18

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. Enlarged low-attenuation, peripherally enhancing lymph nodes are present in the mesentery (arrows).

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Treated lymphoma

  2. 2. Infectious lymphadenopathy (eg, tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection)

  3. 3. Necrotic metastatic lymphadenopathy

  4. 4. Whipple disease

Diagnosis

Treated lymphoma

Discussion

Low-attenuation lymphadenopathy is a fairly frequent finding in treated lymphoma and generally is seen when the nodes are decreasing in size and there has been a favorable response to chemotherapy. Low-attenuation mesenteric lymphadenopathy also can be due to infection—most commonly fungal (histoplasmosis) or mycobacterial (Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare and tuberculosis). Mycobacterial infection (case 10.21) is an important diagnostic consideration in patients who are positive for human immunodeficiency virus and have low-attenuation mesenteric adenopathy. Patients with Whipple disease can present with low-attenuation mesenteric adenopathy. These patients usually have a clinical history of malabsorption.

Case 10.20

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Case 10.19. Contrast-enhanced CT. Multiple low-attenuation lymph nodes with enhancing internal septations are within the hepatic porta.

Case 10.20. Contrast-enhanced CT. Multiple enhancing omental nodules are adjacent to the colon and small bowel.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Peritoneal carcinomatosis

  2. 2. Peritoneal tuberculosis

Diagnosis

Peritoneal tuberculosis

Discussion

Abdominal tuberculosis is most common in immigrant populations and in patients with AIDS. The intestinal tract, lymph nodes, peritoneum, and solid viscera can be involved in variable combination. Usually, nodal and peritoneal disease is associated with intestinal (small bowel and colon) tuberculosis (approximately two-thirds of patients). The abnormally enlarged lymph nodes can be low attenuation with an enhancing rim (as in case 10.19) or of homogeneous attenuation. Nodes in the mesenteric and peripancreatic region are most often affected by abdominal tuberculosis. Occasionally, these nodes can calcify.

Peritoneal disease (as in case 10.20) is usually due to hematogenous dissemination or to nodes that have ruptured into the peritoneum. Ascites may be associated. Intestinal involvement most commonly affects the distal ileum and cecum, with bowel wall thickening and nodal enlargement. Skip areas of bowel wall thickening and luminal narrowing within the small bowel can also occur. Miliary tuberculous nodules can also be found within the liver and spleen. Disseminated disease is most likely to develop in patients with AIDS, and these patients are especially susceptible to Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection.

Low-attenuation lymph nodes can also be seen in patients with testicular metastases, Whipple disease, Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection, and treated lymphoma.

Case 10.21

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. Multiple enlarged, peripherally enhancing, low-attenuation lymph nodes are present in the mesentery.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Lymphoma

  2. 2. Necrotic nodal metastasis

  3. 3. Infectious lymphadenopathy (Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare, tuberculosis)

  4. 4. Whipple disease

Diagnosis

Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare

Discussion

Ultrasonography-guided biopsy of the mesenteric lymphadenopathy in this patient who was positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) showed caseating granulomas. Special stains were positive for Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare (MAI). Differentiating common causes of extensive mesenteric and retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy can be difficult in a patient with HIV. However, the presence of central low-attenuating areas within the adenopathy is strongly suggestive of mycobacterial infection (tuberculosis or MAI). Approximately 65% of patients with HIV and lymphadenopathy due to mycobacterial infection have low-attenuation areas within the enlarged nodes, whereas only 2% of patients with HIV and adenopathy due to lymphoma or Kaposi sarcoma have centrally necrotic nodes.

The most common mycobacterial infection in patients with low-attenuating enlarged lymph nodes is tuberculosis, accounting for approximately 90% of cases. Radiologic differentiation of tuberculosis from MAI is difficult; however, focal hepatic or splenic abnormalities are more common in tuberculosis, as is peritoneal involvement (including ascites, peritoneal thickening, and omental infiltration).

Case 10.22

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. Several rounded cystic masses are present in the mesentery.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Treated lymphoma

  2. 2. Necrotic metastases

  3. 3. Mycobacterial infection

  4. 4. Whipple disease

  5. 5. Cavitary mesenteric lymph node syndrome

Diagnosis

Cavitary mesenteric lymph node syndrome

Discussion

Cavitary mesenteric lymph node syndrome (CMLNS) is an uncommon and poorly understood complication of celiac disease. On CT, CMLNS presents as multiple cystic masses in the mesentery, ranging in size from 2 to 7 cm. Diagnosis can be made by percutaneous aspiration or surgical excision. The benign cystic nodes of CMLNS contain chylous fluid surrounded by a thin rim of fibrous tissue. Because patients with celiac disease have an increased risk of malignancies (specifically lymphoma), tissue diagnosis is required for proper management. Mycobacterial infection also should be excluded when cystic mesenteric adenopathy is identified. The diagnosis of CMLNS in a patient with celiac disease is associated with a poor prognosis. Patients are at increased risk of intestinal hemorrhage and sepsis. Medical treatment includes institution of a strict gluten-free diet, corticosteroids, and infectious prophylaxis—all with variable effectiveness.

Case 10.23

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Abdominal radiograph. A serpiginous radiopaque filament is seen in the right upper quadrant adjacent to surgical clips.

Differential Diagnosis

Retained surgical sponge

Diagnosis

Retained surgical sponge

Discussion

Retained surgical sponges are reported in approximately 1 in 1,000 operations. Surgeons and operating teams rely on the practice of sponge and instrument counts to prevent retained surgical materials, but this obviously is not foolproof. The nonabsorbable cotton matrix of a surgical sponge can elicit two types of reactions within the peritoneal cavity. One is a fibrinous response, which results in a foreign body granuloma. The other is an exudative response, which leads to abscess formation. A sinus tract or fistula tract also may develop as an attempt by the body to extrude the foreign body either externally or into a hollow viscus.

The mortality rate associated with a retained surgical sponge is 10% to 35%. Expeditious removal of a retained sponge is recommended, and laparoscopic retrieval often is possible, especially if discovered early. Given the high associated morbidity and mortality rates, a familiarity with the x-ray and CT appearance of sponges and other surgical instruments is important when interpreting postoperative films. Modern surgical sponges usually are marked with radiopaque filaments, as in this case, and are easily visible on x-ray examination.

Case 10.24

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

CT with oral contrast. A through C. A well-defined spherical mass is present in the left lower quadrant, which contains fluid, air, and a wavy high-attenuation structure centrally.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Abscess due to retained surgical sponge

  2. 2. Necrotic or infected mesenteric tumor

Diagnosis

Peritoneal abscess due to retained surgical sponge (gossypiboma)

Discussion

A surgical sponge in the peritoneal cavity and the masslike inflammatory reaction around the sponge sometimes are referred to as a gossypiboma. This case shows the exudative response to a retained surgical sponge, which has led to abscess formation. At CT, a gossypiboma usually presents as a well-circumscribed, low-attenuation peritoneal mass, which often has a spongiform gas pattern centrally as a result of gas trapped in the mesh of the sponge. Surgical sponges also usually contain a radiopaque filament, which has a serpiginous or wavy appearance, as in this case. Visualization of air-fluid levels and a well-defined enhancing rim favor abscess formation. At surgery, 20 mL of pus was present in the cavity around this retained surgical sponge. Other complications associated with gossypiboma include sinus tracts or fistula tracts to the skin or into a hollow viscus.

Case 10.25

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A peripherally enhancing fluid collection is present in the subhepatic space, which contains several small, rounded calcific densities. Cholecystectomy.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Abscess

  2. 2. Necrotic tumor

Diagnosis

Subhepatic abscess due to spilled gallstones

Discussion

Spillage of gallstones into the peritoneal cavity is more common with laparoscopic than open surgery. Spillage of stones usually occurs during dissection of the gallbladder off the liver bed, tearing with grasping forceps, or extraction of the gallbladder through one of the port sites. Complications related to spilled gallstones are rare and are thought to occur in only approximately 1 in 1,000 patients. The exact reason some spilled stones result in abscess formation is unknown. However, infective complications are thought to be more common when the stones are spilled along with infected bile and with bilirubinate stones, because they often contain viable bacteria. Abscesses due to spilled stones usually occur in the subdiaphragmatic or hepatorenal recesses (as in this case), but spilled stones and their infective complications can occur anywhere in the peritoneal cavity. Patients usually present with abscesses due to spilled gallstones from as early as 1 month to as long as 20 years after a cholecystectomy; the peak incidence is around 4 months. These patients often present without a fever and with a normal leukocyte count. These abscesses usually are treated with percutaneous drainage, and laparotomy commonly is reserved for cases in which percutaneous drainage fails.

Case 10.26

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A thin-walled, rounded, fluid-density mass is present in the mesentery of the lower abdomen.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Enteric duplication cyst

  2. 2. Mesenteric cyst

  3. 3. Ovarian cyst

  4. 4. Lymphangioma

Diagnosis

Mesenteric cyst

Discussion

Mesenteric cysts are rare, usually asymptomatic benign abdominal tumors that often are detected incidentally during physical or radiologic examination. These cysts most commonly are diagnosed in patients in their 40s but also may affect young children. They are thought to develop from benign proliferations of ectopic lymphatics that lack communication to the normal lymphatic system. They can range in size from a few millimeters to 40 cm in diameter. These cysts most commonly are located in the ileal mesentery and can be unilocular or multilocular and contain chylous, serous, or, rarely, hemorrhagic fluid. Surgical enucleation is recommended to prevent possible complications of volvulus, obstruction, or, more rarely, infection or hemorrhage. Imaging differentiation of a mesenteric cyst from other cystic abdominal masses often is extremely difficult.

Case 10.27

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

A. Contrast-enhanced coronal CT. There are 2 soft tissue masses in the right side of the lower abdomen.

B. T2-weighted MRI. The 2 soft tissue masses seen on CT are of low signal intensity, and there is a tubular structure medial to the ascending colon. A small amount of free fluid is present adjacent to the bladder.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Peritoneal tumor implants (metastases)

  2. 2. Endometriosis

  3. 3. Primary peritoneal neoplasm

  4. 4. Malignant adenopathy

Diagnosis

Endometriosis causing obstruction of the appendix

Discussion

Endometriosis, a condition affecting women during their reproductive age, is due to functioning endometrial tissue within the peritoneal cavity (this patient was 32 years old). It can be the cause of abdominal or pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, urinary symptoms, and infertility. Endometriosis usually presents as a solid mass or multiple soft tissue masses, most commonly involving the ovaries, uterus, pouch of Douglas, inferior aspect of the sigmoid, and other peritoneal locations. Sonographic features can present as either benign or malignant ovarian lesions. Low-level internal echoes and echogenic wall foci are features suggesting the diagnosis. Endometriomas containing blood products often present at MRI as cysts of high signal intensity on both T1- and T2-weighted images. Small implants can easily be overlooked at MRI, and laparoscopy remains the reference standard for diagnosis.

In this patient, there were no definite findings of endometriosis. This was a young woman, and her age and sex were the main clues to the diagnosis. The absence of a history of a malignancy makes the diagnosis of tumor implants and adenopathy less likely. A primary peritoneal tumor is also unlikely in a young woman.

Table 10.1

Fluid and Masses of the Peritoneum and Mesentery

CASE

Simple ascites

Anechoic. Transudate most commonly caused by cirrhosis and portal hypertension

10.1

Complicated ascites

Low-level echoes (caused by floating debris) and septations in the ascites. Common causes include infection, hemorrhage, and malignancy

10.2

Peritoneal abscess

Peripherally enhancing fluid collection with bubbles of gas. Caused by perforation of a viscus or surgery

10.3

Hemoperitoneum

Blood in peritoneum is usually around +45 Hounsfield units. Layering of blood products of different ages is common. Sentinel clot is indicator of bleeding site

10.4

Pseudomyxoma peritonei

Mucinous tumor (adenocarcinoma). Caused by ruptured appendiceal mucocele, ovary or colon cancer. Scalloped liver surface, calcifications, and enhancing septations

10.5

Peritoneal carcinomatosis

Multiple nodular peritoneal tumor implants and ascites. Omental caking common. Most commonly caused by ovarian or gastrointestinal primary tumors

10.6–10.8

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma

Multiple peritoneal tumor implants and associated ascites. Usually occurs in men 30-40 years after asbestos exposure

10.9

Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma

Multiloculated low-attenuation peritoneal mass. Benign tumor in young women with no prior asbestos exposure

10.10

Carcinoid

Mesenteric invasion of tumor causes desmoplastic reaction, giving a sunburst appearance at CT. Hypervascular liver metastases are common

10.11 and 10.12

Retractile mesenteritis

Idiopathic disease. Infiltrating mesenteric soft tissue mass, often with large amount of associated calcification and tethering of adjacent bowel loops

10.13 and 10.14

Desmoid tumor

Benign fibrous neoplasm of mesentery or abdominal wall. Most common in patients with Gardner syndrome after colectomy

10.15

Mesenteric gastrointestinal stromal tumor

Rare malignant primary mesenteric tumor. Usually large, solitary, mixed-attenuation tumor

10.16

Lymphoma

Bulky, confluent mesenteric adenopathy around the mesenteric vessels creates sandwich or hamburger sign. Treated lymphoma can be low attenuation

10.17 and 10.18

Mycobacterial infection

Low-attenuation mesenteric adenopathy. Tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare common in patients positive for human immunodeficiency virus

10.19–10.21

Cavitary mesenteric lymph node syndrome

Cystic mesenteric masses in patients with celiac disease

10.22

Gossypiboma

Retained sponge and host response. Can result in abscess formation. Usually contains a wavy metallic filament

10.23 and 10.24

Subhepatic abscess due to spilled gallstones

Rare complication of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. More common when spilled with infected bile or with bilirubinate stones

10.25

Mesenteric cyst

Rounded, fluid-attenuation mesenteric mass. Can result in obstruction or volvulus

10.26

Endometriosis

Soft tissue implants often containing blood products in young females

10.27

Case 10.28

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Single-contrast barium enema. The cecum and loops of distal small bowel are located in the scrotum.

Differential Diagnosis

Inguinal hernia (indirect)

Diagnosis

Inguinal hernia (indirect)

Discussion

Abdominal hernias can be characterized as external (extending beyond the normal contours of the abdomen or pelvis), internal (protrusion of a viscus through a peritoneal or mesenteric defect with an intact abdominal cavity), or diaphragmatic. Almost 75% of external hernias occur in the groin, the great majority of these being inguinal hernias.

Indirect inguinal hernias are the most common type, and the hernia sac and contents protrude into the inguinal canal and emerge at the external ring. This type of hernia is more common in males and often extends into the scrotum. The indirect inguinal hernia sac passes lateral to the inferior epigastric vessels. Less common direct inguinal hernias (case 10.29) protrude directly through a weak area in the abdominal wall medial to the inferior epigastric vessels. Direct inguinal hernias should not extend into the scrotum. Left-sided inguinal hernias can involve the sigmoid colon, whereas right-sided hernias can contain the cecum and small bowel (as in this case).

Case 10.29

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Single-contrast barium enema. A. A loop of sigmoid colon extends into the left groin beyond the normal contours of the pelvic cavity. B. This protruded loop of bowel could be easily pushed back into the pelvis with a compression device.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Inguinal hernia (direct)

  2. 2. Inguinal hernia (indirect)

  3. 3. Femoral hernia

Diagnosis

Inguinal hernia (direct)

Discussion

Direct inguinal hernias are less common than indirect inguinal hernias and usually occur in men. A direct inguinal hernia results from protrusion of abdominal contents through a weakening in the lower abdominal wall medial to the inferior epigastric vessels. These hernias usually have a fairly wide opening and rarely become incarcerated. Incarcerated hernias are hernias that cannot be manually reduced. Complications of incarcerated hernias include obstruction and bowel strangulation and ischemia. Surgery is indicated to avoid these possible complications.

The hernia in this case is unlikely to be an indirect inguinal hernia (case 10.28) because it does not follow the course of the inguinal canal and does not extend into the scrotum. Femoral hernias (cases 10.30 and 10.31) are uncommon in men, and the necks of these hernias usually are much smaller given the small potential space along the femoral vessels.

Case 10.31

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Case 10.30. Single-contrast barium enema. A loop of sigmoid colon is present within a hernia sac in the left inguinal region.

Case 10.31. Unenhanced CT. A loop of slightly dilated small bowel is present within a hernia sac just medial to the right femoral vein.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Inguinal hernia

  2. 2. Femoral hernia

Diagnosis

Femoral hernia

Discussion

At operation, femoral hernias were found and repaired in both of these cases. Femoral hernias are 3 times more common in women and constitute one-third of groin hernias in women. These hernias tend to be smaller than inguinal hernias, and the neck of the hernia always remains below the inguinal ligament and lateral to the pubic tubercle. On CT, the hernia can be seen to lie immediately medial to the femoral vein. Femoral hernias are often difficult to diagnose clinically because they tend to be small and have a deep location along the femoral vessels. Correct diagnosis is important because a femoral hernia is 10 times more prone to incarceration and strangulation than the more common inguinal hernia.

A Richter hernia refers to entrapment of one wall of the bowel in the orifice of the hernia. This is commonly found in older women with a femoral hernia. This type of hernia rarely causes obstruction, but it may result in ischemia of the trapped bowel wall.

Case 10.32

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

CT enterography. A. Multiple loops of dilated small bowel are present in the lower abdomen. B and C. A compressed loop of bowel (arrows) extends through the left obturator foramen into a position between the left pectineus and obturator externus muscles.

Differential Diagnosis

Incarcerated obturator hernia

Diagnosis

Incarcerated obturator hernia

Discussion

Obturator hernias are most commonly found in elderly women (female:male ratio, 6:1). Patients typically present with symptoms of bowel obstruction and pain radiating down the medial thigh caused by compression of the obturator nerve as it exits the obturator canal. The obturator canal is situated in the anterosuperior aspect of the obturator foramen and contains the obturator artery, vein, and nerve. This canal is approximately 1 cm in diameter and 2 to 3 cm long. Although rare, recognition of an obturator hernia on CT is important because strangulated obturator hernias are associated with the highest mortality rate of all hernias.

Other pelvic wall hernias include sciatic and perineal hernias. The figure on page 850 shows the locations of pelvic wall and groin hernias.

Case 10.33

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A large midline hernia contains several loops of normal-caliber small bowel.

Differential Diagnosis

Ventral (incisional) hernia

Diagnosis

Ventral (incisional) hernia

Discussion

Ventral hernias include herniations through areas of relative weakness in the musculature of the anterior or lateral abdominal wall. The majority occur in the midline, bulging through the linea alba, separating the rectus abdominus muscles. Ventral hernias frequently occur along prior surgical incisions, laparoscopy port sites, or stab wounds. Incarceration (trapping) of bowel loops in a ventral hernia may lead to infarction and require emergency surgery. Ventral hernias that have a wide opening, such as this one, are less likely to result in obstructive or ischemic complications than those with narrow openings.

Case 10.34

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. The cecum has herniated through an abdominal wall defect just posterior to the internal and external oblique muscles.

Differential Diagnosis

Lateral ventral hernia

Diagnosis

Lateral ventral hernia

Discussion

Lateral ventral hernias can occur spontaneously but commonly are located at sites of prior surgery (eg, nephrectomy, cholecystectomy) or prior stab wound.

Case 10.35

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. There is a defect in the anterior abdominal wall, near the midline. A portion of the wall of the colon has herniated through the defect.

Differential Diagnosis

Richter hernia

Diagnosis

Richter hernia

Discussion

A Richter hernia (also known as Richter-Littre or parietal hernia) involves only a portion of the circumference of a bowel loop. It usually does not affect the passage of bowel contents. Therefore, there is usually no obstruction, but strangulation of the affected portion of the bowel wall can occur.

Case 10.36

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Small bowel follow-through. An ileostomy is shown on this lateral abdominal radiograph. Several small bowel loops have herniated through the abdominal wall defect into a parastomal location.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Parastomal hernia

  2. 2. Ventral hernia, midline

Diagnosis

Parastomal hernia

Discussion

Parastomal hernias often are found after an operation involving ileostomy or colostomy. The diagnosis may not be obvious when the patient is examined in the supine or prone position. A lateral radiograph with the ostomy tract in profile usually is helpful for displaying the anatomy. Often the diagnosis of a hernia is clinically apparent, but a radiographic examination can be helpful for determining the size of the hernia and its contents and to evaluate for obstruction.

Case 10.37

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A herniated loop of bowel is seen entering the subcutaneous space lateral to the rectus abdominus muscle.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Spigelian hernia

  2. 2. Inguinal hernia

Diagnosis

Spigelian hernia

Discussion

A spigelian hernia is a type of external hernia in which the abdominal wall defect arises along the linea semilunaris, a connective tissue structure that runs from the costal cartilages to the symphysis pubis, just lateral to the rectus abdominus muscle. These hernias most often occur as a result of increased intra-abdominal pressure (eg, in heavy laborers, patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, those with urinary or gastric retention, and in multiparous women).

Indirect inguinal hernias are located lateral to the epigastric vessels and follow the path of the spermatic cord.

Case 10.38

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A “knuckle” of normal-caliber small bowel bulges from the peritoneum adjacent to the umbilicus.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Umbilical hernia

  2. 2. Ventral hernia

Diagnosis

Umbilical hernia

Discussion

Umbilical hernias due to a patent umbilical ring are common in infants and children. Incarceration of umbilical hernias in children is extremely rare. Treatment is usually observation because 95% of umbilical hernias close on their own by age 5 years.

Umbilical hernias in adults occur predominantly in patients with increased abdominal pressure, including women after pregnancy and patients with ascites or chronic bowel distention. An incarcerated umbilical hernia should be suspected when a patient presents with intestinal obstruction and paraumbilical pain, even if an obvious bulge cannot be palpated. A ventral hernia could give a similar CT appearance. Identifying a focal hernia at the umbilicus allows the correct diagnosis.

Case 10.40

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Case 10.39. Small bowel follow-through. Most of the small bowel is located in the upper abdomen and appears to be confined within a saclike structure.

Case 10.40. Contrast-enhanced CT. A loop of bowel (arrow) is located between the stomach and the body of the pancreas.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Paraduodenal hernia

  2. 2. Foramen of Winslow hernia

Diagnosis

Paraduodenal hernia

Discussion

Paraduodenal hernias are the most frequent type of internal hernias, making up approximately 50% of internal hernias. Most occur as a congenital anomaly of intestinal rotation and peritoneal attachment. Paraduodenal hernias usually (75%) occur on the left as a result of bowel herniating through a peritoneal reflection created by the inferior mesenteric artery. Bowel resides lateral to the ascending limb (fourth portion) of the duodenum. Less commonly (25%), paraduodenal hernias occur on the right through the fossa beneath the superior mesenteric artery. Radiographically, a mass of small bowel loops usually is located in the left upper quadrant, appearing to be encapsulated within a sac. Stasis of intraluminal barium and bowel dilatation may be present.

Foramen of Winslow internal hernias displace the stomach and duodenum to the left and the stomach anteriorly. A foramen of Winslow hernia could have this CT appearance. In addition to paraduodenal and foramen of Winslow hernias, transmesenteric, pericecal, intersigmoid, and mesocolic internal hernias also can occur. The figure on page 851 shows the possible locations for internal hernias.

Case 10.41

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. The contrast-enhanced cecum is located in an aberrant position in the lesser sac, positioned between the stomach, liver, and pancreas.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Foramen of Winslow hernia

  2. 2. Paraduodenal hernia

Diagnosis

Foramen of Winslow hernia

Discussion

Approximately 10% of all internal hernias occur as a result of protrusion of viscera into the lesser sac through the foramen of Winslow. The small bowel is involved in 70% of cases and the cecum and ascending colon in 30% of cases. A predisposing factor is excessive mobility of intestinal loops due to a long mesentery. Patients often present with acute pain and obstruction after an episode of sudden increased abdominal pressure (eg, childbirth, weight lifting).

Case 10.42

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

A. Chest radiograph. Opacification of the left lower lung is present, which contains several gas collections within it. The cardiothymic silhouette is displaced to the right.

B. Small bowel follow-through. Contrast material has been instilled into the stomach through a nasogastric tube. Small bowel loops are seen to enter the left thorax, traversing a posteriorly located diaphragmatic defect.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Bochdalek hernia

  2. 2. Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia

Diagnosis

Bochdalek hernia

Discussion

Symptomatic Bochdalek hernias are most common in infants. They occur as a result of incomplete closure of the pleuroperitoneal canal. The defect is always posterior and usually on the left. If the defect is large, nearly all of the abdominal contents can reside in the thorax. This can result in pulmonary developmental abnormalities and an associated high infant mortality rate. Traumatic hernias through the diaphragm usually follow a major traumatic event. They may not be detected immediately, and patients may present with pain or bowel obstruction years later.

Case 10.43

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT (delayed images). A through C. There is a defect in the diaphragm posteriorly on the right (arrows), and peritoneal fat and a loop of proximal ureter have herniated into the right thoracic cavity. Sliding hiatal hernia.

Differential Diagnosis

Right-sided Bochdalek hernia

Diagnosis

Right-sided Bochdalek hernia

Discussion

Asymptomatic Bochdalek hernias in adults are more common than previously thought and have been reported to occur in approximately 0.2% of adults. Most of these posterior diaphragmatic hernias are discovered incidentally during CT or MRI. Bochdalek hernias are always located posteriorly and are usually on the left (70% of cases), unlike this case. Asymptomatic Bochdalek hernias usually contain only fat. Controversy remains as to whether these small asymptomatic Bochdalek hernias need to be treated surgically. When bowel or solid organs are present within the hernia, surgery is usually performed to prevent infarction or other complications.

Case 10.44

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Single-contrast barium enema. A large segment of transverse colon has herniated into the thorax through a defect in the anterior portion of the diaphragm.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Morgagni hernia

  2. 2. Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia

Diagnosis

Morgagni hernia

Discussion

Morgagni hernias are less common than Bochdalek hernias. These hernias occur as a result of a midline defect in which the right and left pleuroperitoneal folds do not join. The substernal region is always affected, usually near the midline. The omentum often herniates into the thorax, but liver and colon also can be present.

Case 10.46

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Case 10.45. A. Abdominal radiograph. There is a loculated collection of gas in the left upper abdomen (arrow), either in a subdiaphragmatic or intrathoracic location.

B. Single-contrast barium enema. The questionable gas collection is the splenic flexure of the colon, which has herniated through a small diaphragmatic defect. The colonic lumen is narrowed as it passes through the diaphragm, and barium could not be advanced into the more proximal colon, indicating obstruction.

Case 10.46. Unenhanced CT. The liver has herniated through the diaphragm and lies within the right thoracic cavity adjacent to the heart.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia

  2. 2. Morgagni diaphragmatic hernia

Diagnosis

Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia

Discussion

Traumatic abdominal hernia is a relatively rare condition due to either blunt external trauma or penetrating wounds. Occasionally, iatrogenic hernias may develop after subdiaphragmatic surgical procedures. The majority of diaphragmatic tears occur on the left, perhaps due to the protective effect of the liver on the right. The stomach is the organ most likely to herniate, followed by colon, small bowel, spleen, and omentum. Complications of obstruction and strangulation occur in the majority of patients if surgical correction is not performed. These complications are associated with a high mortality rate.

Table 10.2

Hernias

CASE

External

  • Indirect inguinal

  • Direct inguinal

  • Femoral

  • Obturator

  • Ventral (incisional)

  • Spigelian

  • Umbilical

  • Most common external hernia. Protrusion lateral to inferior epigastric vessels and into inguinal canal. Most common in men, with extension into scrotum

  • Protrusion medial to inferior epigastric vessels. Most common in men, but should not extend into scrotum

  • Much more common in women. Herniation medial to femoral vein. High risk of incarceration

  • Rare hernia usually occurring in elderly women. Protrusion through obturator canal. High morbidity and mortality

  • Most common midline. Common at sites of prior surgery

  • Protrusion lateral to rectus abdominus muscle

  • Protrusion through umbilical ring. Usually resolves spontaneously in infants

Internal

  • Paraduodenal

  • Foramen of winslow

  • Most common internal hernia. 75% occur on the left

  • Herniation into the lesser sac

Diaphragmatic

  • Esophageal hiatus

  • Bochdalek

  • Morgagni

  • Traumatic

  • Very common diaphragmatic hernia. Sliding or paraesophageal type

  • Most common congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Always located posteriorly, usually on the left

  • Located anteriorly on the right

  • More common on the left. Follows blunt trauma or penetrating wound

Case 10.47

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

A and B. Supine abdominal radiograph. Air outlines the peritoneal cavity and liver. Gas is on both sides of the colonic wall and outlines the falciform ligament (arrow on A). C. Upright abdominal radiograph. A large amount of air is present beneath both domes of the diaphragm.

Differential Diagnosis

Pneumoperitoneum

Diagnosis

Pneumoperitoneum

Discussion

Pneumoperitoneum can be caused by recent surgery, bowel perforation, trauma, or peritoneal infection with gas-producing organisms. In a nonsurgical patient, the presence of free intraperitoneal air is highly suggestive of bowel perforation, most commonly caused by a perforated gastric or duodenal ulcer. Postoperative pneumoperitoneum usually resolves in 4 to 5 days. Pneumoperitoneum after this time or an increase in the amount of free intraperitoneal air on serial examinations is highly suggestive of a bowel leak.

Pneumoperitoneum is best visualized on upright films as air beneath the hemidiaphragms. Left lateral decubitus views can be helpful in critically ill patients who are unable to have upright views. Signs of pneumoperitoneum on supine plain films include 1) Rigler sign, gas on both sides of the bowel wall; 2) football sign, gas outlining the entire peritoneal cavity; 3) gas outlining the falciform ligament; and 4) an amorphous gas density over the liver, which can indicate free air positioned between the anterior abdominal wall and liver. All of these findings can be seen on the supine films in this case. Lung windows often are helpful for identifying small amounts of free intraperitoneal air at CT, which can be confused with intraluminal gas. This patient had pneumoperitoneum due to an iatrogenic colonic perforation during colonoscopy.

Case 10.48

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A through C. Mild, diffuse, high-attenuation stranding is present in the mesenteric fat.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Lymphoma

  2. 2. Mesenteric panniculitis

  3. 3. Mesenteric edema

Diagnosis

Misty mesentery (due to lymphoma)

Discussion

A wispy area of increased attenuation within the mesentery, often referred to as “misty mesentery,” is a nonspecific finding at CT which can be due to fluid, inflammatory cells, fibrosis, or tumor in the mesenteric fat. The most common causes of mesenteric edema include heart failure, portal hypertension, hypoalbuminemia, and mesenteric arterial or venous thrombosis. Inflammatory processes such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diverticulitis can result in a misty mesentery. Neoplasms (most commonly non-Hodgkin lymphoma) also can give this appearance. Finally, idiopathic causes such as retractile mesenteritis (mesenteric panniculitis) may result in a misty mesentery. Differentiation between these causes of a misty mesentery is often difficult, but the possibilities may be narrowed down by clinical history and follow-up imaging.

Case 10.49

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A. Axial plane. B. Coronal plane. There is soft tissue stranding within the mesentery.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Mesenteric edema: ascites, venous obstruction, heart failure

  2. 2. Mesenteric inflammation: pancreatitis, appendicitis

  3. 3. Mesenteric hemorrhage or trauma

  4. 4. Mesenteric neoplasm: lymphoma, carcinoma

  5. 5. Retractile mesenteritis

Diagnosis

Mesenteric amyloid deposition

Discussion

Amyloid deposition can occur in any organ of the body and usually results in nonspecific imaging findings. Amyloid is derived from the combination of a specific protein, serum amyloid P, and a glycosaminoglycan. At microscopy with Congo red stain, amyloid is often detected by its green birefringence. It involves organs either focally (masslike) or infiltratively. It can occur as a primary or secondary disease. In 30% of patients with primary amyloidosis, multiple myeloma will later develop. It often is associated with multiple chronic diseases, including Crohn disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjögren syndrome, dermatomyositis, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and others. The gastrointestinal system is most commonly involved, especially the colon. In patients with the disease, 80% will have positive results of colon or rectal biopsy.

In the case shown here, the findings are very nonspecific, and thus a precise diagnosis is not possible. The patient was found to have primary amyloidosis of the small bowel at surgical biopsy.

Case 10.50

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A. Axial plane. B. Coronal plane. Soft tissue stranding is present within the tissues adjacent to the ascending colon. A central fat lucency is present within the soft tissue abnormality.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Appendicitis

  2. 2. Epiploic appendagitis

  3. 3. Omental torsion

  4. 4. Diverticulitis

Diagnosis

Epiploic appendagitis

Discussion

Epiploic appendages are fatty tags along the antimesenteric border of the colon. Torsion of these tags can lead to acute ischemia and localized abdominal pain. The condition is more common on the left side of the colon and is often confused for diverticulitis clinically. On the right side, appendicitis is the usual clinical concern. Cross-sectional imaging findings include soft tissue stranding with an epicenter distinct from the colon wall or appendix. Most commonly, a fat attenuation center is seen within the lesion.

The disease is self-limited and treated conservatively. Omental torsion is usually larger and does not contain the central fat attenuation. Diverticulitis and appendicitis have bowel wall thickening primarily with associated soft tissue stranding.

Case 10.51

Peritoneum and Mesentery

Findings

Contrast-enhanced CT. A and B. A heterogeneous (interspersed fat) attenuation mass is anterior to the ascending colon with medial displacement of the adjacent small bowel. There is a small to moderate amount of ascites. There is no associated colon or small bowel wall thickening.

Differential Diagnosis

  1. 1. Diverticulitis

  2. 2. Omental torsion and infarction

  3. 3. Epiploic appendagitis

Diagnosis

Omental torsion and infarction

Discussion

Omental torsion with infarction is a rare acute abdominal condition, which is often clinically misdiagnosed as acute appendicitis. Middle-aged patients most commonly are affected, and they usually present with severe right lower quadrant pain and low-grade fever. Most omental infarcts are located on the right because the right side of the omentum is longer, heavier, and more mobile, and thus more likely to torque. Omental infarction is the final result of torsion that occurs from twisting of the omentum and its vascular pedicle along its long axis.

CT findings of omental infarction include a fatty mass with inflammatory stranding along the right inferior edge of the omentum. The adjacent colon should be normal. Omental torsion with infarction is considered a benign condition and has spontaneous resolution and disappearance of the CT abnormality over 1 to 2 months. This condition can be treated conservatively with analgesics once more common causes of acute right lower quadrant pain, including appendicitis, right-sided diverticulitis, and cholecystitis, are excluded. Epiploic appendagitis (case 5.59) usually presents as a smaller fatty mass with a hyperattenuating peripheral rim. Epiploic appendagitis is most common adjacent to the sigmoid colon, whereas omental torsion is usually larger and in the right abdomen.

Table 10.3

Miscellaneous Conditions of the Peritoneum and Mesentery

CASE

Pneumoperitoneum

Upright, air beneath diaphragm. Rigler sign (air on both sides of bowel wall), football sign (air outlining entire peritoneal cavity)

10.47

Misty mesentery

Diffuse or focal soft tissue stranding. Nonspecific findings: lymphoma, portal hypertension, hypoalbuminemia, inflammatory diseases, mesenteric panniculitis

10.48 and 10.49

Epiploic appendagitis

Inflammatory changes with central fat adjacent to colon. Normal colon wall

10.50

Omental torsion with infarction

Inflammatory mass containing fat. Usually in right upper quadrant. Symptoms can resemble those of appendicitis. Conservative treatment

10.51

Table 10.4

Differential Diagnoses

  • Hernias

    • EXTERNAL

      • Groin, pelvic wall

        • Indirect inguinal

        • Direct inguinal

        • Femoral

        • Obturator

        • Sciatic

        • Perineal

      • Abdominal wall

        • Ventral or incisional

        • Spigelian

        • Umbilical

    • INTERNAL

        • Paraduodenal

        • Foramen of winslow

        • Pericecal

        • Intersigmoid

        • Transmesenteric

        • Paravesical

    • DIAPHRAGMATIC

        • Esophageal hiatus

        • Foramen of Bochdalek

        • Foramen of Morgagni

        • Traumatic

  • Peritoneal, Mesenteric Masses

      • Metastases

      • Malignant mesothelioma

      • Cystic peritoneal mesothelioma

      • Pseudomyxoma peritonei

      • Carcinoid

      • Retractile mesenteritis

      • Desmoid

      • Sarcoma

      • Lymphoma

      • Infectious lymphadenopathy

      • Abscess

      • Mesenteric cyst

  • Low-Attenuation Mesenteric Lymphadenopathy

      • Treated lymphoma

      • Necrotic metastases

      • Mycobacterial infection (Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare or tuberculosis)

      • Whipple disease

      • Cavitary mesenteric lymph node syndrome


Mesenteric and Peritoneal Masses
Figure 10.52 (Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)

Mesenteric and Peritoneal Masses

Figure 10.52
(Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)


Groin and Pelvic Hernias
Figure 10.53 (Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)

Groin and Pelvic Hernias

Figure 10.53
(Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)


Internal Hernias
Figure 10.54 (Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)

Internal Hernias

Figure 10.54
(Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.)

Questions

Multiple Choice (choose the best answer)

10.1. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis for the findings in the figure?Peritoneum and Mesentery

  1. a. Incisional hernia

  2. b. Spigelian hernia

  3. c. Lumbar hernia

  4. d. Richter hernia

  5. e. Obturator hernia

10.2. Which of the following is most often associated with the condition shown in the figure?Peritoneum and Mesentery

  1. a. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) syndrome

  2. b. Peutz-Jehger syndrome

  3. c. Cronkite-Canada syndrome

  4. d. Primary sclerosing cholangitis

  5. e. Retractile mesenteritis

10.3. In a patient with the condition identified in Question 10.2, what is the natural history of the mass shown?

  1. a. Tumor regresses

  2. b. Tumor remains stable

  3. c. Tumor enlarges and recurs

  4. d. Tumor has premalignant or malignant behavior

  5. e. Metastases are common

Match images A through F with the responses listed below.

  1. 10.4. _____ Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

  2. 10.5. _____ Appendiceal carcinoma

  3. 10.6. _____ Deep inferior epigastric artery

  4. 10.7. _____ Simulates diverticulitis

Answers

10.1. Answer b. Spigelian hernias always occur lateral to the rectus abdominus muscles.

Incisional hernias can potentially be located anywhere, but they are most commonly found in the anterior abdominal wall midline, at the site of the prior midline incision.

Lumbar hernias occur as a result of a defect in the posterior fascia (along the flank) between the 12th rib and the iliac crest.

In Richter hernias, one side of the bowel wall (antimesenteric) is herniated, and the other side is normally located. These are most common with femoral hernias.

Obturator hernias are those hernias through the obturator foramen.

10.2. Answer a. A mesenteric soft tissue mass is present in the central abdomen, and the colon has been resected. This patient had Gardner syndrome, which is a variant of FAP with extraintestinal (usually mesenchymal) manifestations (desmoid tumor in the mesentery).

Peutz-Jegher syndrome has no known extraintestinal manifestations.

Cronkite-Canada syndrome has hamartomatous polyps with associated ectodermal changes (nail changes).

Primary sclerosing cholangitis is associated with ulcerative colitis.

Retractile mesenteritis usually presents with a central mesenteric soft tissue mass that is often calcified. There can be associated thickening of adjacent mesenteric leaves.

10.3. Answer c. Desmoid tumors tend to enlarge after surgery and recur with each operation.

  1. 10.4. Answer d. Figure d shows dropped gallstones. There is a peripherally calcified structure (gallstone) in the hepatorenal recess. This can be the site of an abscess after cholecystectomy.

  2. 10.5. Answer b. Figure b shows a pseudomyoma peritonei due to appendiceal mucinous cystadenocarcinoma. Large masslike collections of water attenuation material are present within the peritoneal space.

  3. 10.6. Answer a. Figure a shows a rectus sheath hematoma. There is a low-density mass within the right rectus abdominus muscle. Bleeding from the inferior epigastric artery (that lies just inferior or within the rectus abdominus muscle) can be brisk, and if the hemorrhage extends inferiorly it can collect anterior to the bladder in the space of Retzius (as in this case). Note the hematocrit effect within the pelvic hematoma.

  4. 10.7. Answer f. Figure f shows epiploic appendagitis. An inflammatory mass containing central fat lies adjacent to the sigmoid colon. The colon wall is not thickened, placing the process in an extracolonic location.

    Figure c shows retractile mesenteritis. A calcified soft tissue mass is present within the mesentery. Differential considerations include carcinoid tumor or retractile mesenteritis.

    Figure e shows omental infarction. A large mass in the anterior and central abdomen contains soft tissue stranding and fat. The mass is adjacent to bowel, but the bowel wall is normal in thickness.