Appearance of oxidized cellulose (Surgicel) on postoperative CT scans: similarity to postoperative abscess.
OBJECTIVE: Oxidized regenerated cellulose (Surgicel), a sterile knitted fabric that causes thrombus formation because of its physical properties, is frequently used for intraoperative hemostasis. Unlike traditional surgical sponges, it is bioabsorbable and can be left in the surgical bed. On CT scans, the appearance of the retained oxidized cellulose can mimic that of an abscess. The purpose of this study was to describe the appearance of oxidized regenerated cellulose on postoperative CT scans so that an erroneous diagnosis of an abscess can be avoided. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed the CT examinations of five postoperative patients in whom oxidized regenerated cellulose had been used for surgical hemostasis. Operative reports and surgeons confirmed the use of oxidized cellulose. Four CT scans were abdominal examinations, and one was a head examination. RESULTS: In four cases, CT scans showed focal, linear collections of gas within masses with mixed attenuation in or near the operative site. No air-fluid levels were present. In three patients, cultures of specimens obtained by aspiration were negative for pyogenic organisms. CONCLUSION: Retained oxidized cellulose can mimic an abscess on CT scans. Focal collections of air centrally located within a mass should alert the radiologist that oxidized cellulose may have been placed in the operative site, and an appropriate history should be sought.
Young, ST; Paulson, EK; McCann, RL; Baker, ME
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