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Radiographics. 2003 May-Jun;23(3):663-84; discussion 684-5.

US of the peritoneum.

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Department of Medical Imaging, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, 200 Elizabeth St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2C4.


Familiarity with the pathophysiology of peritoneal disease is the basis of successful ultrasound (US) study of the peritoneum. The pouch of Douglas, diaphragmatic surfaces, the paracolic gutters, and the regions of the mesentery and omentum should receive careful scrutiny in the patient at risk for a peritoneal disease process. An optimal US technique requires assessment of the entire peritoneum with a transducer selected to reflect the depth of the region of interest. US may demonstrate minute quantities of free intraperitoneal fluid and is therefore capable of providing sensitive quantitative information about ascites. Qualitative information may also be inferred, as blood, pus, and neoplastic cells demonstrate correlation with particulate ascites on gray-scale US scans. Peritoneal nodules, plaques, and thickening may be detected on the visceral or parietal peritoneal surfaces, especially when high-frequency probes are used. Transvaginal study in women increases the sensitivity of US for detection of peritoneal disease. In women who have unexplained sepsis or are at risk for carcinomatosis, transvaginal scanning should routinely be added to the regular abdominal and pelvic studies regardless of the findings of those studies. Peritoneal carcinomatosis, primary peritoneal neoplasms, pseudomyxoma peritonei, and peritonitis have characteristic appearances at US.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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