CT: Peritoneal and Retroperitoneal compartments  

This image of a patient with ascities highlights the extent of the intraperitoneal versus retroperitoneal compartments. The patient on the left has ascites, an accumulation of fluid within the peritoneal space. This fluid appears darker (lower attenuation) than the surrounding abdominal wall musculature. Note how the intraperitoneal compartment is essentially bathed in ascites fluid (all around the liver, spleen, and intestines). The retroperitoneal space, where the kidneys, aorta, and vena cava reside, is not in contact with the ascites fluid. Notice these structures are surrounded by the retroperitoneal fat. The image on the right is at a comparable level in a patient without ascites.


Identify the following:

1. right and left kidneys

2. liver

3. spleen

4. gas in intestines

5. ascites fluid

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