The use of magnetic resonance imaging in the differential diagnosis between starch and fecal peritonitis.

E. Winkler*, M. Ravid-Megido, D. Rosin, J. Kuriansky, A. Yuditz, A. Horowitz, A. Orenstein, M. Shabtai, A. Ayalon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Granulomatous peritonitis, caused by the starch from the surgeons' gloves, is a hypersensitivity reaction that can complicate abdominal surgery and mimic other causes of peritonitis. The diagnosis of this entity is difficult to make, and relies on a high index of suspicion. We suggest the use of magnetic resonance imaging to facilitate the diagnosis of this condition, based on an experimental animal model. 84 rats were subjected to laparotomy, and the abdominal cavity was exposed to either saline solution, talc solution, starch solution or fecal material by creating a cecal perforation. TI-weighted magnetic resonance images, with and without gadolinum enhancement, were taken after 3, 5 and 10 days. The animals were then sacrificed and the abdominal contents were evaluated both macroscopically and microscopically. Both talc and starch caused gross adhesions involving the entire abdominal viscera, and microscopy revealed signs of inflammation and fibrosis. Starch induced reactive granulomas. The adhesions in the cases of fecal peritonitis were confined to the area of the perforation. MR images of the starch peritonitis group was remarkable for a diffuse pathological process with enhancement of the omentum and the peritoneum after gadolinum injection. The MR readings of the fecal peritonitis group showed a localized process with no diffuse enhancement of the peritoneum. The striking differences between the magnetic resonance images of starch and fecal peritonitis in rats suggest that this modality is both sensitive and specific in diagnosing starch peritonitis in a rat model. Early non-invasive diagnosis of these separate entities would ease the establishment of the appropriate treatment. We are currently investigating the use of MRI imaging in suspected starch peritonitis in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of surgical investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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