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Spectrum of CT Findings Related to Bowel Adhesions Without Bowel Obstruction: A Comprehensive Imaging Review

  • Gopireddy, Dheeraj Reddy1
  • Soule, Erik2
  • Arif-Tiwari, Hina3
  • Sharma, Smita1
  • Kanmaniraja, Devaraju4
  • Jain, Kapila5
  • Letter, Haley1
  • Lall, Chandana1
  • 1 Department of Radiology, University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida , (United States)
  • 2 Department of Interventional Radiology, University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida , (United States)
  • 3 Department of Medical Imaging, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ , (United States)
  • 4 Department of Radiology, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York , (United States)
  • 5 Department of Radiology, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Coreys Mill Lane , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
Journal of Clinical Imaging Science
Scientific Scholar
Publication Date
Dec 10, 2020
DOI: 10.25259/JCIS_126_2020
PMID: 33365202
PMCID: PMC7749936
PubMed Central
  • Pictorial Essay


Post-operative adhesions can occur following abdominal or pelvic surgery and are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Adhesions are an important cause of abdominal complaints, especially chronic abdominal pain, infertility, and bowel obstruction; responsible for an estimated $2.3 billion annual burden in the United States alone. There is a paucity of literature describing CT findings indicative of the presence of adhesions, however, findings suggestive of this entity may be discovered by a discerning eye. Early recognition and diagnosis may be beneficial for reducing consumption of health-care resources related to abdominal complaints. In addition, these findings may impact surgical planning and facilitate recognition of adhesion-related complications, said to be responsible for a significant number of malpractice claims. The following review discusses various CT findings which may indicate the presence of adhesions. These findings may initially be overlooked, but remain valuable as the clinical presentation evolves to become consistent with adhesive disease. Detection of bowel and peritoneal adhesions can be recognized on imaging modalities based on distortion of bowel loops. This pictorial review illustrates the spectrum of findings related to bowel adhesions encountered on computed tomography imaging.

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