Fat stranding on CT

Fat stranding is a common sign on CT seen anywhere fat can be found but is most commonly seen in the abdomen/pelvis, but also in the retroperitoneum, thorax and subcutaneous tissues. It can be helpful in localising both acute and chronic pathology.

Radiographic features

CT

Fat stranding can appear as ill-defined increased attenuation and/or reticular/linear hyperdensity, or in the case of malignancy reticulonodular hyperdensity 1. It is a nonspecific sign in itself and can be seen in infectious, inflammatory, malignant or traumatic conditions.

Abdomen/pelvis

There are several patterns of fat stranding in the abdomen and can occur within the mesentery or surrounding solid organs 1,2:

Thorax

Fat stranding can also be seen in thorax, and is mainly indicative of mediastinal pathology:

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Article information

rID: 47438
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fat stranding CT

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: in acute cholecystitis
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    Case 2: in acute pancreatitis
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    Some reduced enha...
    Case 3: in acute pyelonephritis
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    Right lower quadr...
    Case 4: in acute appendicitis
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    Case 5: in diverticulitis
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    Contrast enhanced...
    Case 6: in omental infarction
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    Case 7: in Crohn's disease
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    Case 8: in tuberculous peritonitis
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    Case 9: in mesenteric panniculitis
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    Blind ending Meck...
    Case 9: in acute Meckel's diverticulitis
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