MDCT of acute appendicitis: value of coronal reformations

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Acute appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain requiring urgent surgery in the United States. The clinical diagnosis can be difficult in patients with atypical presentations and, over the past several decades, computed tomography (CT) has been increasingly utilized to improve diagnostic accuracy. Helical CT has proven to be an excellent tool in the work-up of acute abdominal pain with a diagnostic accuracy for acute appendicitis of 93-99%. However, occasionally there are equivocal or false positive or negative cases, often due to non-visualization of the appendix. The development of multi-detector row CT and recent advancements in reconstruction software has allowed rapid, high-resolution imaging of the entire abdomen and pelvis resulting in multiplanar reformations (MPR) with a spatial resolution similar to that of the axial plane. This article reviews the utility of CT in suspected acute appendicitis and the potential added diagnostic value of coronal reformations in confirming or excluding the diagnosis.

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