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February 1974

Mesenteric Cysts: A Review

Author Affiliations

Harrisburg, Pa
From the Department of Surgery, Polyclinic Hospital, Harrisburg, Pa.

Arch Surg. 1974;108(2):242-246. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01350260094024

"Cysts of the mesentery are among the surgical rarities," stated Berkeley Moynihan in 1897.1 McKeown et al2 believed that mesenteric cysts are medical curiosities of historic interest only. Mesenteric cysts are indeed rare, and have been omitted from some surgical textbooks. However, the subject deserves more consideration because of the very fact that the cysts are frequently overlooked. Consequently, inappropriate treatment and late diagnoses are common in the management of mesenteric cysts. The medical history and physical examination findings are seldom characteristic. Roentgenograms are generally suggestive and may lead to the diagnosis, which is made most frequently at surgery.3 This review of the literature is presented in order to provide a complete, informative picture of mesentery cysts, thereby alerting the clinician to them as potential diagnostic entities.

Historical Background and Incidence  The historical background of mesenteric cysts is divided into three periods1 (Table 1). The first