Neoplastic and inflammatory processes of the peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery: diagnosis with CT

Radiographics. 1992 Nov;12(6):1051-68. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.12.6.1439011.


Disease processes in the peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery occasionally are not recognized at radiologic examination. The authors have used computed tomography (CT) to categorize the radiologic appearances of the more common abnormalities into three basic patterns: (a) solid but relatively well-defined masses, (b) cystic-appearing masses, and (c) ill-defined or infiltrative processes. The most common solid masses to affect these anatomic regions are secondary neoplasms, which are associated with enhancement of the peritoneum on contrast material-enhanced CT scans and, typically, ascites. The various cystic-appearing masses (including cystic lymphangioma, cystic mesothelioma, teratoma, and loculated ascites) and infiltrating masses (such as peritoneal mesothelioma, retractile mesenteritis, desmoid, and carcinoid) must be differentiated on the basis of clinical findings and additional imaging findings (eg, CT depiction of fat and calcium in teratomas and the radiating appearance of carcinoids). Although the CT appearances of some of the abnormalities overlap, classifying them by pattern is helpful in narrowing the range of the differential diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mesentery*
  • Omentum*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*