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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1988 May;150(5):1035-41.

CT manifestations of peritoneal carcinomatosis.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Hudson, NY 12534.


Seventy-three abdominopelvic contrast-enhanced CT scans obtained in 60 patients with peritoneal tumor spread were reviewed retrospectively to determine the CT signs of peritoneal malignancy. Ascites was present in 54 studies (74%) and was the most common CT finding. Loculation of the fluid occurred in 25 (46%) of these. In nine (17%) of the 54, a new finding, absence of cul-de-sac fluid in the presence of generalized ascites, was noted. Parietal peritoneal thickening with contrast enhancement of the peritoneum, making the peritoneum visible as a thin line along the abdominal wall, was present in 45 (62%) of studies. This is believed to represent confluent peritoneal metastases. Small-bowel involvement was present in half of the cases (wall thickening and irregularity with or without obstruction). Tumor involvement of the omentum was visible as soft-tissue permeation of fat, enhancing nodules, and/or an omental cake. Of the 26 patients without a previously known malignancy, identification of the primary tumor in addition to peritoneal carcinomatosis was possible in 13 (50%). Appreciation of the spectrum of CT findings in peritoneal carcinomatosis is essential for accurate evaluation of scans in patients with abdominopelvic malignancies.

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