Computed tomography of traumatic and nontraumatic retroperitoneal emergencies
The retroperitoneum is a common location for injury following blunt or penetrating trauma. Additionally, there are a wide variety of nontraumatic emergencies that involve the retroperitoneum. Patients with these entities may present with symptoms ranging from acute abdominal or back pain to hypotension and/or fever. Computed tomography (CT) is the imaging modality of choice to evaluate acute processes of the retroperitoneum, as sonography has been historically less sensitive than CT. Knowledge of the compartments of the retroperitoneal space as well as the fascial planes is crucial to diagnose and understand the pathway of spread of pathology in this region. In this pictorial essay the spectrum of both traumatic and nontraumatic retroperitoneal emergencies will be demonstrated, as well as their effect on the different compartments of the retroperitoneum.
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