CT evaluation of appendicitis and its complications: imaging techniques and key diagnostic findings

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2005 Aug;185(2):406-17. doi: 10.2214/ajr.185.2.01850406.


Objective: This article reviews various CT protocols for appendicitis, identifies key CT findings for diagnosing appendicitis, discusses unusual manifestations such as chronic and recurrent appendicitis, and profiles imaging features that differentiate appendicitis from other inflammatory and neoplastic ileocecal conditions. Patients were studied with helical CT.

Conclusion: CT is a highly accurate, noninvasive test for appendicitis, but the optimal CT technique is controversial. Major complications of appendicitis (perforation, abscess formation, peritonitis, bowel obstruction, septic seeding of mesenteric vessels, gangrenous appendicitis) and their management are discussed. Abdominal CT is a well-established technique in the study of acute abdominal pain and has shown high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing and differentiating appendicitis, providing an accurate diagnosis in the early stages of disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appendicitis / complications
  • Appendicitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods


  • Contrast Media