Mesenteric cyst

Last revised by Sze Yuen Lee on 17 Sep 2023

Mesenteric cysts are a very rare cause of abdominal pain and have a wide range of underlying causes. 

The term "mesenteric cyst" is considered a descriptive of the location and gross appearance of "any cyst" arising in the mesentery 8.

Mesenteric cysts are rare, with a reported incidence of 0.5-1 per 100,000-250,000 admissions 3,5.  There may be a slight female predilection.

Patients usually present with abdominal pain and/or mass, although the cysts can be asymptomatic, incidental finding 3

They may represent a range of different entities and can have varying etiology.

Postulated origins include 4:

  • a continual growth of congenitally malformed or malpositioned lymphatic tissue

  • secondary to trauma

  • degenerating lymph nodes

  • failure of the leaves of the mesentery to fuse properly

Histological entities classified under this term include:

Mesenteric cysts can occur anywhere in the mesentery, from the duodenum to the rectum, and may extend into the retroperitoneum. Mesenteric cysts are cystic mesenteric lesions that can be further characterized by the wall thickness (thin or thick-walled) and their loculation (unilocular or multilocular).

Reported complications include 4:

  • infection

  • hemorrhage

  • torsion

  • rupture

  • intestinal obstruction

The first case is thought to have been reported in 1507 by Benevieni 6.

The main differential diagnosis is:

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: mesenteric cystic lymphangioma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 7: mesenteric lymphangioma - ultrasound
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 8
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 9
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 10
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.