Small intestine & ampulla

Benign tumors / tumor-like conditions

Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Minor changes: 19 November 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis[TI] small bowel

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2020: 1,010
Page views in 2021 to date: 840
Cite this page: Gulwani H. Pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis. website. Accessed November 27th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Submucosal gas filled cysts in GI tract
  • Called mucosal pseudolipomatosis if it resembles lipomatosis
Clinical features
  • Part of differential diagnosis of acute abdomen (World J Gastroenterol 2012;18:453)
  • In infants, associated with necrotizing enterocolitis and may be fatal; also associated with cystic fibrosis, congenital heart defects
  • In adults, either idiopathic or varied clinical settings including chemotherapy, chronic lung disease, drugs, ischemic colitis, obstruction, scleroderma (World J Gastroenterol 2011;17:4932, Arch Pathol Lab Med 2010;134:378)
  • Often indolent clinical course, although radiographically resembles carcinoma
  • Considered a finding, not a diagnosis
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:


Gross description
  • Polypoid grape-like masses protrude through mucosa
  • Soft, bluish and often sessile, "bubble wrap" crackling noise while handling the specimen
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Submucosal cysts lined by multinucleated giant cells
  • Mucosa contains cryptitis, crypt abscesses, granulomas
  • May also resemble lipomatosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Differential diagnosis
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