Computed Tomography and Ultrasonography in the Evaluation of the Retroperitoneum in Patients with Malignant Ascites

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The computed tomographic (CT) body scans of 59 patients and ultrasonograms of 31 patients, all with malignant disease, were reviewed to determine the effect of ascites on the ability to image the retroperitoneum. In 95%; of cases evaluated by CT. the retroperitoneal structures were well seen. In 35%; of the cases evaluated by ultrasonography. the retroperitoneum was completely obscured by bowel gas and partially obscured in an additional 55%; As a result of this study, it is felt that CT should be the procedure of choice when a thorough evaluation of the retroperitoneum is necessary in patients with large amounts of abdominal ascites.

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