Mesenteric and Retroperitoneal Diseases

  • Antonella Filippone
  • Roberta Cianci
  • Antonio Raffaele Cotroneo
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


The abdominal cavity is subdivided into the peritoneal cavity and the extra or retroperitoneal space. Mesenteries are reflections of the peritoneum on the bowel surface; therefore, they support loops of the small bowel and colon. They also serve as boundaries for disease process and conduits for disease spread. At Computed Tomography (CT) normal mesenteric fat appears homogeneous and has an attenuation similar to that of subcutaneous tissues and retroperitoneum. An alteration in the attenuation of mesenteric fat is often an important clue in determining the underlying cause of an abdominal abnormality. CT represents the main diagnostic tool for imaging the mesenteric pathologies which appear as an increased attenuation known with the term of “misty mesentery”. When considering the retroperitoneal pathologies, the signs and symptoms of retroperitoneal diseases are often subtle. Cross-sectional imaging techniques therefore have a major impact on retroperitoneal diagnosis: CT is currently the standard imaging method for evaluating the retroperitoneum. This chapter reviews mesenteries and retroperitoneum anatomy as well as their most common diseases. Hereafter, the main causes of “misty mesentery” and primary retroperitoneal masses are discussed along with their CT imaging characteristics.


Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma Retroperitoneal Space Retroperitoneal Fibrosis Compute Tomography Feature Myxoid Liposarcomas 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonella Filippone
    • 1
  • Roberta Cianci
    • 1
  • Antonio Raffaele Cotroneo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences and Imaging, Section of ImagingG. d’Annunzio UniversityChietiItaly

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