Eighteen cases of mesenteric panniculitis of the colon collected from the literature, together with two cases from the authors' source, were reviewed. The disease occurred most often in late adult life, with a male predominance. Symptoms were abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and a lower abdominal mass in most patients. Barium enema disclosed narrowing, shortening, and poor extensibility of the colon, and ultrasonography and computed tomography showed thickening of the mesocolon and colonic wall with soft-tissue density. Exploratory laparotomy was done in all patients, and colectomy, colostomy, or other surgical treatments were performed in 17 (85 percent). Gross appearance at the time of surgery was characterized by a marked thickening or a firm mass of the mesocolon with a puckered surface involving the appendices epiploicae of the colon. Microscopically, degeneration of the adipose tissue, revealed by aggregates of lipid-laden macrophages, was diagnostic. Inflammatory infiltration and fibrosis also were present in many patients. Mesenteric panniculitis of the colon seems to be a lesion more advaced than the same condition of the small intestine, and colostomy or bypass surgery may be needed for alleviation of severe symptoms.
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