Pictorial Essay

Emergency Radiology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 75-82

First online:

MDCT of acute cecal conditions

  • Matthew T. HellerAffiliated withDivision of Abdominal Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Email author 
  • , Puneet BhargavaAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, University of Washington & VA Puget Sound Health Care System

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The cecum comprises a relatively short segment of the gastrointestinal tract, but it can be affected by numerous acute conditions. Acute conditions may arise from processes primary to the cecum, such as volvulus, bascule, neoplasm, and trauma. Alternatively, acute conditions can be due to secondary to systemic or nearby pathology, such as infection, inflammatory processes, ischemia, and infarction. While it is common to suspect appendicitis as the etiology of acute right lower quadrant abdominal pain, the cecum should also be considered as a potential cause of pain, especially in the setting of an abnormal or absent appendix. Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) has evolved to become the best imaging modality to evaluate patients presenting with right lower quadrant abdominal pain or suspected acute cecal pathology. Strengths of MDCT include rapid acquisition of images, high spatial resolution, and ability to create multi-planar reconstructed images. In this pictorial review, we illustrate and describe key MDCT findings for various acute cecal conditions with which the emergency radiologist should be familiar.


Cecum Cecal Multi-detector computed tomography Acute Abdominal pain