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Case Reports in Surgery
Volume 2014, Article ID 428989, 4 pages
Case Report

Pneumatosis Coli Mimicking Colorectal Cancer

Department of General Surgery, Whittington Health, Magdala Avenue, London N19 5NF, UK

Received 22 March 2014; Accepted 24 September 2014; Published 7 October 2014

Academic Editor: Mehrdad Nikfarjam

Copyright © 2014 Teresa Jacob et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pneumatosis coli (PC) is a rare condition of the gastrointestinal tract involving extraluminal gas confined within the bowel wall. We report the case of a 40-year-old gentleman presenting clinically and endoscopically with suspected colorectal cancer. In light of the patient’s red flag symptoms, and carpet of polyps seen endoscopically, surgical management by an anterior resection was performed with the patient making a successful recovery. Histological analysis of the resected specimen confirmed pneumatosis coli with no evidence of colonic neoplasia. Although PC can be an incidental finding in asymptomatic patients and considered a benign condition, it can also present as a life-threatening emergency with bowel necrosis and obstruction requiring emergency surgical intervention. Also, when PC mimics malignancy, surgical management is the most appropriate step to ensure that the diagnosis of cancer is not missed.