Fat stranding on CT

Dr Aniket Verma and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Fat stranding is a common sign seen on CT wherever fat can be found. It is most commonly seen in abdomen/pelvis, but can also be seen in retroperitoneum, thorax and subcutaneous tissues. It can be helpful in localizing 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 non-specific 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 which can occur within the mesentery or surrounding solid organs 1,2:

Thorax

Fat stranding can also be seen in the 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
  • Fat-stranding

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: in acute cholecystitis
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  • Case 2: in acute pancreatitis
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Case 9: in acute Meckel's diverticulitis
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