Definitions for pneumoperitoneum
U.S. National Library of Medicine
A condition with trapped gas or air in the PERITONEAL CAVITY, usually secondary to perforation of the internal organs such as the LUNG and the GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT, or to recent surgery. Pneumoperitoneum may be purposely introduced to aid radiological examination.
Pneumoperitoneum is the presence of air or gas in the abdominal cavity. It is often seen on X-ray, but small amounts are often missed, and CT is nowadays regarded as a criterion standard in the assessment of a pneumoperitoneum. CT can visualize quantities as small as 5 cm³ of air or gas. The most common cause is a perforated abdominal viscus, generally a perforated peptic ulcer, although any part of the bowel may perforate from a benign ulcer, tumor or abdominal trauma. A perforated appendix seldom causes a pneumoperitoneum. A pneumoperitoneum is deliberately created by the surgical team in order to perform laparoscopic surgery. This is achieved by insufflating the abdomen with carbon dioxide.
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