Skip to main content


Log in

Cecal volvulus: CT findings and correlation with pathophysiology

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Emergency Radiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


The purpose of this study is to report the computed tomography (CT) features of cecal volvulus and to determine the accuracy of CT in distinguishing the three pathophysiological types of cecal volvulus. The CT studies of ten patients with surgically confirmed cecal volvulus were reviewed. For each patient, CT findings were looked for and recorded. The precise location of the cecum within the abdomen, the presence of an ileocecal twist, and the clockwise or counterclockwise direction of the whirl sign were specifically analyzed. All these results were confronted to the surgical diagnosis retrospectively correlated with the three types of cecal volvulus. According to our classification based on the analysis of the location of the cecum within the abdomen and the presence or the absence of a whirl sign on CT scans, the cecal volvulus was defined as the axial torsion type in four (40%) patients, loop type in four (40%) patients, and cecal bascule type in two (20%). For each patient, the result was in full accordance with the type of cecal volvulus diagnosed at surgery. CT is not only a valuable diagnostic technique in diagnosing cecal volvulus and its complications, but it is also useful in distinguishing the three pathophysiological types of cecal volvulus.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Wright TP, Max MH (1988) Cecal volvulus: review of 12 cases. South Med J 81:1233–1235

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Madiba TE, Thomson SR (2002) The management of cecal volvulus. Dis Colon Rectum 45:264–267

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Perrer RS, Kunberger LE (1998) Cecal volvulus. Am J Roentgenol 171:860

    Google Scholar 

  4. Moore CJ, Corl FM, Fishman EK (2001) CT of cecal volvulus: unraveling the image. Am J Roentgenol 177:95–98

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Berger JA, van Leersum M, Plaisier PW (2005) Cecal volvulus: case report and overview of the literature. Eur J Radiol Extra 55:101–103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Frank AJ, Goffner LB, Fruauff AA, Losada RA (1993) Cecal volvulus: the CT whirl sign. Abdom Imaging 18:288–289

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Montes H, Wolf J (1999) Cecal volvulus in pregnancy. Am J Gastroenterol 94:2554–2556

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Torreggiani WC, Brenner C, Micallef M (2001) Case report: cecal volvulus in association with a mesenteric dermoid. Clin Radiol 56:430–432

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Rabin MS, Richter IA (1978) Cecal bascule: a potential clinical and radiological pitfall. Case reports. S Afr Med J 54:242–244

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Bharti K (2003) The whirl sign. Radiology 226:69–70

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Shaff MI, Himmerlfarb E, Sacks GA, Burks DD, Kulkami LD (1985) The whirl sign: a CT finding in volvulus of the large bowel. J Comput Assist Tomogr 9:410

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric Delabrousse.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Delabrousse, E., Sarliève, P., Sailley, N. et al. Cecal volvulus: CT findings and correlation with pathophysiology. Emerg Radiol 14, 411–415 (2007).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: