Visceral Fat Analysis at CT Colonography

Kristina T. Johnson, William S. Harmsen, Paul J. Limburg, Michael J. Carston, Charles D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Obesity is associated with increased risks for colorectal neoplasia. Few studies have examined quantitative body fat measurements as predictors of colorectal polyps. The objective is to determine whether visceral fat is associated with colorectal polyps at computed tomography (CT) colonography. Materials and Methods: Case (n = 25) and control (n = 25) subjects with proven large (>1 cm) colorectal adenomas or normal colons respectively were randomly selected from among an established CT colonography research study cohort. Using supine CT colonography data, the body wall was traced at three levels: top of the right kidney, iliac crest, and superior acetabulum. Total area from the three slices and each slice area were determined within the visceral fat range (-170 to -45 Hounsfield units) and recorded within the selected region. Visceral fat measures were compared between patient groups with and without polyps. Results: None of the single slice visceral fat area measures or summed measures predicted case or control status. The most informative visceral fat measure was obtained at the top of the right kidney with a maximum area under the received operator characteristic curve of 0.77 (0.05 SE). For a selected sensitivity of 75%, the maximum specificity for a large (≥1 cm) polyp was 64%. Conclusion: In this pilot study, visceral fat measures at CT colonography were not significantly associated with the presence of large colorectal adenomas. However, odd ratios were elevated by a factor of 2. This suggests that a larger study may be justified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • CT colonography
  • Visceral fat
  • colorectal polyps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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