Bubbles in the belly: imaging of cystic mesenteric or omental masses

Radiographics : a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
C StoupisJ Gauger


The purpose of this article is to familiarize radiologists with the spectrum of "bubbles in the belly," including the current histologic classification of mesenteric or omental cysts. Although mesenteric and omental cystic masses are uncommon lesions, radiologists should be familiar with them as well as with other anomalies that can manifest as these cysts. The first step in diagnosing a cystic abdominal mass is to determine the organ from which the mass originates. The most common type of mesenteric or omental cyst is lymphangioma, but other types encountered include the enteric duplication cyst, the enteric cyst, the mesothelial cyst, and the nonpancreatic pseudocyst. Other cystic lesions that may be located in the mesentery or omentum include cystic mesothelioma, cystic spindle cell tumor, and cystic teratoma. Because of the overlap in imaging features of mesenteric or omental cysts and other cystic masses, histologic analysis is usually necessary to establish a diagnosis. The major role of the radiologist is to document the cystic nature of these abdominal masses and their mesenteric or omental origin.


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