A Case Report of Mesenteric Panniculitis and Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome


Mesenteric Panniculitis is a benign fibro-inflammatory process involving adipose tissue of the mesentery. It is characterised by fat necrosis, chronic inflammation and fibrosis, causing thickening and shortening of the mesentery. Patients may present with localised abdominal pain, abdominal mass, intestinal obstruction and ischaemic colitis. We report a case of mesenteric panniculitis causing abdominal pain in a patient with active Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome. The rarity of this case makes it of interest. We review the current literature on mesenteric panniculitis and its association with connective tissue disease and inflammatory conditions. A 64-year-old Caucasian male presented in 1994 with dry mouth. A diagnosis of Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome (PSS) was made on salivary gland biopsy. In 2010 he presented with an exacerbation of his eye symptoms, muscle pain and fatigue. He complained of abdominal pain and night sweating, but denied any weight loss or change in bowel habit. There was no significant past medical history other than PSS. On examination he had a small right submandibular node and mild synovitis at the right proximal interphalangeal joint and carpometacarpal joint. Examination of the abdomen showed marked umbilical tenderness but no organomegally. Blood tests at this time showed an active inflammation: CRP of 61 (NR < 5 mg/L), ESR 39 (NR < 20 mm/s), strongly positive ENA Ro and La. IgG was elevated at 18.6 (NR 5.8-15.4), Complement was low at 0.17 (NR 0.18-0.6). An abdominal ultrasound scan demonstrated a 6 × 3 ×3 cmarea of diffuse homogenous fat encasing some mesenteric vessels in the area of focal tenderness. CT abdomen and pelvis showed oedematous mesenteric fat and lymph nodes in the jejunal small bowel mesentery, consistent with mesenteric panniculitis. Laparoscopic biopsy was discussed with the surgical team, but was felt not indicated as risk outweighed potential benefit. The patient was treated with a 9-week reducing course of oral steroids. His abdominal symptoms resolved although CT abdomen showed little improvement in mesenteric panniculitis. A review of the literature suggests that currently there is no standard treatment and management should be guided by patient symptoms. Mesenteric Panniculitis is rare; as a result evidence for treatment is limited to individual case reports. There is no clear link between symptom improvement and radiological resolution of mesenteric panniculitis. It has, therefore been suggested that follow-up imaging should be limited to those with persistent symptoms. Overall the prognosis for mesenteric panniculitis is good, up to half of patients do not require treatment, and recurrence of symptoms is uncommon.

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R. Batten and W. Ng, "A Case Report of Mesenteric Panniculitis and Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome," Open Journal of Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 227-230. doi: 10.4236/ojra.2013.34036.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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