The adipose tissue surfaces in 11 slices (+/- 5 cm from the umbilicus) were compared in two cadavers using computed tomography (CT) versus planimetry of band-sawed slices of the corresponding sections. A very close correlation was found with partial correlations of around 0.90. Retroperitoneal fat formed a considerable proportion of the total adipose tissue surface in the slices. The results were similar whether fat was defined as -250 to -50, -190 to -30, or -140 to -40 Hounsfield units. These data indicate that CT measurements agree closely with a direct morphometric method and thus can be used as a 'gold standard' for future development. The fact that fat which is located extraperitoneally, but still intraabdominally, constitutes a significant proportion of the slice surface in the umbilical region indicates that data relating intraabdominal fat measurements to metabolic functions must be interpreted with caution.