Accurate diagnosis of infarction of omentum and appendices epiploicae by computed tomography

Abadir, Janet S.; Cohen, Allen J.; Wilson, Samuel E.
October 2004
American Surgeon;Oct2004, Vol. 70 Issue 10, p854
Academic Journal
journal article
Segmental infarction of the omentum and epiploic appendages presents with acute abdominal findings that may be confused with a surgical illness. Computed tomography, however, demonstrates a consistent and well-recognized pattern that allows safe, nonoperative treatment. Infarction of omental or mesenteric fat may present clinically as localized peritonitis, mimicking appendicitis, diverticulitis, or cholecystitis. Spontaneous recovery without operation is to be expected if an accurate diagnosis is established. We describe the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of 15 patients who had infarction of the greater omentum (eight) and epiploic appendage (seven) and presented with localized abdominal pain and tenderness, with six demonstrating regional peritonitis and fever. All underwent CT imaging during their initial evaluation, and 12 of the 15 patients were diagnosed with focal omental or mesenteric fat infarction radiographically and managed nonoperatively. Three patients who had characteristic CT findings nevertheless underwent operation. All patients had complete resolution of their abdominal pain regardless of treatment. The clinical presentation of infarction of the omental or epiploic appendages may be difficult to differentiate from surgical causes of acute abdominal pain. The characteristic findings on computed tomography are diagnostic and allow safe, conservative management in the majority of patients.


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