European Radiology

, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp 2096–2103 | Cite as

CT appearance of the normal appendix in adults

  • Stefania Tamburrini
  • Arturo Brunetti
  • Michèle Brown
  • Claude B. Sirlin
  • Giovanna Casola


The aims of this study were to identify (1) the normal range of the appendix on computed tomography (CT), (2) the correlation of patient age and sex with the visibility and appearance of the appendix on CT, and (3) the normal variations in wall thickness, intraluminal content, and location of the appendix. Three hundred seventy-two outpatients underwent abdominopelvic CT. The scans were reviewed on the picture archiving and communication system and appendiceal outer-to-outer wall diameter, wall thickness, location, content and its correlation with appendix diameter were analyzed. The appendix was visualized in 305/372 patients. Its location relative to the cecum was highly variable. The diameter range was 3–10 mm; in 42% of cases the diameter was greater than 6 mm. When the intraluminal content (185/305) was visualized, the diameter was slightly superior to the mean (p=0.0156). In 329 CT scans in which oral contrast material was given, the appendix was filled by contrast material in 74/329 patients. The appendix wall thickness was measurable in 22/305 patients (average 0.15 cm). There is significant overlap between the normal and abnormal CT appearance of the appendix. Consequently the diagnosis of acute appendicitis should be based not only on the appearance of the appendix but also on the presence of secondary signs.


Computed tomography Appendix Appendicitis 



We are grateful to Davide Brunelli ( for creating Fig. 2 based on our data.


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Copyright information

©  2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefania Tamburrini
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Arturo Brunetti
    • 1
  • Michèle Brown
    • 3
  • Claude B. Sirlin
    • 3
  • Giovanna Casola
    • 3
  1. 1.Dip. Sc. Biomorfologiche e FunzionaliUniversita’ di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.NaplesItaly
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyUCSD Medical CenterSan DiegoUSA

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