Fluid collection

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 10 Jul 2022

A fluid collection (often expressed in the medical vernacular as a collection) is a non-specific term used in radiology to refer to any loculation of liquid in the body, usually within a pre-existing anatomical space/potential space e.g. peritoneal, pleural, subdural, etc. The term is deliberately employed when the more specific nature of the collection is not yet known. The fluid may be pus, blood, serous, chyle, etc.

Free fluid (most commonly used in the phrase: peritoneal free fluid) is the antonym of fluid collection and is used when the fluid is not loculated. Although at times free fluid and fluid collections may be used for the same entity, usually erroneously.

Fluid collections include:

NB this is not intended to be an exhaustive list

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