Sonography of the Cecum: Gateway to the Right Lower Quadrant

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Sonography of the cecum has come of age largely as a consequence of the successful evolution of appendiceal sonography as a useful tool in the evaluation of patients with right lower-quadrant pain. At some medical centers, graded-compression sonography (GCS) has become the initial imaging study of choice in the assessment of these individuals. The cecum serves as a helpful anatomic landmark for localization of the appendix in these examinations—providing a sonographic starting point in the search for the appendix. During GCS, primary pathology within the cecum itself can become evident, including a variety of processes, such as infectious, inflammatory, or neoplastic disorders, whose presentations commonly mimic that of appendicitis. The accurate diagnosis of cecal abnormalities and their differentiation from acute appendicitis play valuable roles in the management of affected patients because the options for further workup and subsequent treatment vary greatly according to the diagnosis at hand. Additionally, the compressed cecum often becomes an acoustic window into the right lower quadrant, revealing pathology apart from the appendix within the right iliac fossa. The purpose of this pictorial essay is to highlight the importance and value of performing a careful evaluation of the cecum during GCS of patients with suspected appendicitis and to review the differential diagnosis and imaging findings of primary cecal abnormalities whose clinical presentations can mimic that of acute appendicitis.

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