Traumatic abdominal wall injuries—a primer for radiologists


Traumatic abdominal wall injuries encompass a broad clinical and radiological spectrum and are identified in approximately 9% of blunt trauma patients. The most severe form of abdominal wall injury—a traumatic abdominal wall hernia—is seen in less than 1.5% of blunt abdominal trauma patients. However, the incidence of concurrent intra-abdominal injuries in these patients is high and can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Although the diagnosis of abdominal wall injuries is typically straight forward on CT, associated injuries may distract the interpreting radiologist in more subtle cases. Thus, it is important for the radiologist to identify abdominal wall injuries and their associated injuries on admission CT, as these injuries typically require surgical correction early in the course of their management. Untreated abdominal wall injuries subject the patient to increased risk of delayed bowel incarceration and strangulation. Therefore, it is important for the radiologist to be knowledgeable of injuries to the abdominal wall and commonly associated injuries to provide optimal patient triage and expedite management.

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The authors would like to thank medical illustrator Tom Dolan, MS from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine for creating the medical illustration seen in Fig. 1.

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Correspondence to Scott D. Steenburg.

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Author SDS receives research grant support from the Department of the Army (unrelated to the content of this manuscript).

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Steenburg, S.D., Padilla-Jones, B., Lee, J.T. et al. Traumatic abdominal wall injuries—a primer for radiologists. Emerg Radiol 28, 361–371 (2021).

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  • Blunt trauma
  • Traumatic abdominal wall hernia
  • Traumatic abdominal wall rupture
  • Traumatic lumbar hernia