What Is Retroperitoneal Inflammation?
Inflammation that affects your retroperitoneal space is a serious
medical condition. It has a high mortality rate. However, early diagnosis and
treatment can improve your outlook.
space is the space between your peritoneum and your posterior
abdominal wall. In less complicated terms, it’s the space in your abdomen
behind the abdominal lining. It houses several major organs, including:
- abdominal aorta
- adrenal glands
Inflammation often happens in response to an infection. The
infection can spread all over your body and affect vital organs if left
untreated. The inflammation can also put pressure on your vital organs. This
pressure could cause irreversible complications.
Retroperitoneal inflammation is also known as retroperitonitis.
Symptoms of Retroperitoneal Inflammation
Retroperitoneal inflammation has similar symptoms as other
abdominal infections that involve inflammation. Symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- high fever
- loss of appetite
- problems urinating
- unexplained weight loss
Causes of Retroperitoneal Inflammation
Retroperitoneal inflammation can happen when harmful bacteria
come in contact with your abdominal wall. This typically occurs when the wall
is punctured or ruptures. Possible causes of retroperitoneal inflammation
Complications with Organs
A ruptured appendix, stomach ulcers, or a perforated colon can
allow bacteria into your abdominal cavity.
Small bulging pouches (diverticula) in your digestive tract can burst
and spill digestive waste into your abdomen.
Complications that cause inflammation can occur from a variety of
medical procedures, including:
- gastrointestinal surgery
- feeding tubes
- contaminated equipment
- procedures that uses catheters to draw fluid
from your abdomen or intestinal organs
Infection can affect the membrane that lines your abdominal wall
and covers your organs.
Problems can arise if bacteria spread from your pancreas.
Injury or trauma can allow outside bacteria from other parts of
your body to enter the retroperitoneal space.
Risk Factors for Retroperitoneal
Chronic digestive conditions, such as stomach ulcers and
diverticulitis, can create problems. This is especially true if they are left
Risky behavior, such as playing contact sports, can raise your
chance of traumatic injuries. Some of these injuries can puncture your
Surgical procedures performed with unclean equipment or poor
hygiene can increase your risk of infection and retroperitoneal inflammation.
Diagnosis of Retroperitoneal Inflammation
Diagnosis begins with a physical exam. Your doctor will assess
your symptoms. Then they will typically order an abdominal X-ray, CT scan, or
MRI. These imaging tests will show the inside of your abdomen. This will allow
your doctor to assess your condition. This will also help your doctor see if
any organs are affected by the inflammation.
Blood tests can help identify signs of inflammation in your blood.
They can also identify signs of anemia (low red blood cell count). These can be
signs of other conditions, such as retroperitoneal fibrosis. Additionally,
blood cultures can detect whether a bacterial infection has spread into your
Your doctor may order a biopsy (the surgical removal of a small amount of peritoneal
tissue). This can help your doctor rule out other causes of inflammation.
Treatment of Retroperitoneal Inflammation
Treatment for retroperitoneal inflammation is extremely important
to prevent complications. You will need to stay in a hospital to get treatment.
This condition is largely treated with antibiotics or surgery.
Antibiotics can help prevent inflammation caused by infection.
The type of antibiotic prescribed and the length of your treatment will depend
on the extent of the inflammation.
Your doctor may need to remove very inflamed and infected tissue
to prevent further problems. The infection could spread to other organs, for
example. You may need surgery if it has spread. You may also need treatment to
remove blockages from the ducts or blood vessels of your organs, such as the
ureters that connect your kidneys and bladder. This may help to prevent fatal
Your doctor may give you immunosuppressant therapy if they determine
that your immune system’s response is making your condition worse.
Recovery from Retroperitoneal Inflammation
Your long-term outlook will depend on how badly your abdominal
tissues are damaged and how quickly you receive treatment .
Your hospital stay may be lengthy. Retroperitoneal inflammation
is a serious condition that can have life-threatening consequences. You will get
inpatient treatment until the condition has been treated.
Serious complications can arise when inflammation affects the
organs in your abdomen, such as your abdominal aorta. This is the large blood
vessel that carries oxygenated blood to the lower half of your body. To lower
your risk of serious complications, speak to your doctor if you notice symptoms
and get treatment early.