Case contributed by Dr Bruno Di Muzio


Progressive pelvic pain for two days. Medical history of colonoscopy performed three days ago.

Patient Data

Age: 75 years
Gender: Female

CT Abdomen and pelvis (selected images)

There is inflammation of the rectum characterised by surrounding fat stranding. The multiple gas bubbles extending along the retroperitoneum confirms the origin of the perforation to be a retroperitoneal bowel segment, in this case, the rectum.

Annotated image

Gas bubbles dissecting along the retroperitoneum. Arrows indicate some of the retroperitoneal structures, such as the oesophagus, kidney, aorta, psoas muscle, and rectum. 

Case Discussion

Pneumoretroperitoneum is by definition presence of gas within the retroperitoneal space. It is always abnormal. 

The perforation may have occurred during the colonoscopy procedure. The most site of colonic perforation is the rectosigmoid colon. 

A differential diagnosis to consider is complicated acute diverticulitis with perforation.

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Case information

rID: 20710
Published: 8th Dec 2012
Last edited: 18th May 2018
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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