Iliopsoas abscess: a report of 24 patients diagnosed by CT

Abdom Imaging. Sep-Oct 2001;26(5):533-9. doi: 10.1007/s002610000201.


Background: We wanted to define the role of computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of iliopsoas abscess.

Methods: Twenty-four patients (18 men, six women; age range = 17-86 years) with iliopsoas abscesses diagnosed over 8 years were retrospectively reviewed. All presented with fever and elevated white blood cell counts. Twenty-one had abdominal, flank or pelvic pain and nine had specific psoas signs suggesting the diagnosis.

Results: Seventeen of the abscesses were right-sided. Twenty were regarded as secondary to various underlying causes that were clearly demonstrated on CT and related to gastrointestinal (n = 12), skeletal (n = 5), or urinary tract (n = 3) diseases. All patients received appropriate antibiotic treatment. Thirteen also had their abscesses drained and eight had definitive surgical procedures.

Conclusion: CT is an effective imaging technique for diagnosing iliopsoas abscess, even when classic clinical signs are absent. Treatment by percutaneous drainage under CT guidance is another advantage. When a psoas abscess is a complication of Crohn's disease, resection of the affected bowel segment is recommended in addition to drainage because drainage alone even in conjunction with appropriate medical therapy is usually not effective.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoas Abscess / diagnostic imaging*
  • Psoas Abscess / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*