Perforation of the mesenteric small bowel: Etiologies and CT findings

John Hines, Juliana Rosenblat, Dameon R. Duncan, Barak Friedman, Douglas S. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to illustrate and discuss the various etiologies of perforation of the mesenteric small bowel and associated findings on abdominal CT. Perforation of the mesenteric small bowel is an uncommon cause of an acute abdomen and can be due to various etiologies. In underdeveloped countries, infection is probably the most common cause, while in industrialized nations, perforation may be due to Crohn disease, diverticulitis, foreign body, trauma, tumor, mechanical obstruction, primary ischemic event, or iatrogenic causes. CT is usually the initial imaging examination in patients with an acute abdomen and is sensitive in diagnosing small bowel perforation. CT findings in the setting of small bowel perforation are often subtle, but when present, may help the radiologist determine a specific cause of perforation. The aims of this pictorial essay are to review the various causes of mesenteric small bowel perforation and to discuss and illustrate the CT findings that can help arrive at the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • Perforation
  • Small bowel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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