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Pneumoretroperitoneum: Imaging Findings

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Imaging of Alimentary Tract Perforation


Pneumoretroperitoneum is defined by the presence of free air within the retroperitoneal space.

Retroperitoneal gas is most often the result of bowel perforation. It can originate from the duodenum or the ascending, descending, or rectosigmoid portions of the colon.

Retroperitoneal perforations allow gas to enter the corresponding retroperitoneal compartments.

The importance of discerning between pneumoperitoneum and pneumoretroperitoneum on plain abdominal films cannot be minimized because retroperitoneal air differs markedly from pneumoperitoneum in etiology, clinical course, and patient’s treatment.

Computed tomography plays a crucial role in detecting retroperitoneal free air.

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Correspondence to Antonio Pinto .

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Pinto, A., Muzj, C., Ruggiero, G. (2015). Pneumoretroperitoneum: Imaging Findings. In: Romano, L., Pinto, A. (eds) Imaging of Alimentary Tract Perforation. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-08191-5

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