Gastrointestinal tract perforation: MDCT findings according to the perforation sites

Korean J Radiol. 2009 Jan-Feb;10(1):63-70. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2009.10.1.63.


Our objective is to describe the characteristic CT findings of gastrointestinal (GI) tract perforations at various levels of the gastrointestinal system. It is beneficial to localize the perforation site as well as to diagnose the presence of bowel perforation for planning the correct surgery. CT has been established as the most valuable imaging technique for identifying the presence, site and cause of the GI tract perforation. The amount and location of extraluminal free air usually differ among various perforation sites. Further, CT findings such as discontinuity of the bowel wall and concentrated free air bubbles in close proximity to the bowel wall can help predict the perforation site. Multidetector CT with the multiplanar reformation images has improved the accuracy of CT for predicting the perforation sites.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastrointestinal Tract / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestinal Perforation / etiology
  • Peptic Ulcer Perforation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed