Pneumatosis cystoides coli

Case contributed by Dr Erik Ranschaert


Patient presented with a history of vague abdominal pain for several months. Physical examination and laboratory tests were negative. Routine ultrasound examination showed no relevant abnormalities. The patient was not reassured and optical colonoscopy was performed to exclude colonic pathology. A polyp-like lesion with intact overlying mucosa was seen and interpreted as an external lesion; therefore no biopsy was taken. Consecutively a CT colonography was performed.

Patient Data

Age: 58Y
Gender: Male

A multilobulated broad-based polypoid lesion was found at the splenic flexure. On the two-dimensional images  the lesion demonstrates a rather ‘foamy’ aspect caused by multiple air-containing lobules.

Case Discussion

Pneumatosis cystoides coli (PCC) is a rare condition defined as an abnormal location of gas within the colonic wall. It typically presents with multiple gas-filled cysts in the submucosa and/or subserosa of the colon. The size of the cysts may range from a few millimetres to several centimetres. PCC is regarded as the colonic variant of pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis (PCI).

With CT  it is possible to exclude other conditions such as pneumoperitoneum or gas in the portal venous system. CT colonography is the modality of choice in diagnosing PCC, allowing the exact location and configuration of the abnormalities to be described.

With acknowledgements to drs. G. van der Horn

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Case information

rID: 10807
Published: 22nd Sep 2010
Last edited: 16th Jul 2018
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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