Don't Forget the Abdominal Wall: Imaging Spectrum of Abdominal Wall Injuries after Nonpenetrating Trauma
Radiographics . Jul-Aug 2017;37(4):1218-1235. doi: 10.1148/rg.2017160098.
Shanna A Matalon, Reza Askari, Jonathan D Gates, Ketan Patel, Aaron D Sodickson, Bharti Khurana
Abdominal wall injuries occur in nearly one of 10 patients coming to the emergency department after nonpenetrating trauma. Injuries range from minor, such as abdominal wall contusion, to severe, such as abdominal wall rupture with evisceration of abdominal contents. Examples of specific injuries that can be detected at cross-sectional imaging include abdominal muscle strain, tear, or hematoma, including rectus sheath hematoma (RSH); traumatic abdominal wall hernia (TAWH); and Morel-Lavallée lesion (MLL) (closed degloving injury). These injuries are often overlooked clinically because of (a) a lack of findings at physical examination or (b) distraction by more-severe associated injuries. However, these injuries are important to detect because they are highly associated with potentially grave visceral and vascular injuries, such as aortic injury, and because their detection can lead to the diagnosis of these more clinically important grave traumatic injuries. Failure to make a timely diagnosis can result in delayed complications, such as bowel hernia with potential for obstruction or strangulation, or misdiagnosis of an abdominal wall neoplasm. Groin injuries, such as athletic pubalgia, and inferior costochondral injuries should also be considered in patients with abdominal pain after nonpenetrating trauma, because these conditions may manifest with referred abdominal pain and are often included within the field of view at cross-sectional abdominal imaging. Radiologists must recognize and report acute abdominal wall injuries and their associated intra-abdominal pathologic conditions to allow appropriate and timely treatment.
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