mesenteric panniculitis is an inflammatory process that represents the second stage of a rare progressive disease involving the adipose tissue of the mesentery. imaging methods used in the diagnosis of mesenteric panniculitis include barium studies, ultrasonography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. computed tomography is important for both, diagnosis and evaluation of the extension of the disease and treatment monitoring. computed tomography findings may vary according to the stage of the disease and the amount of inflammatory material or fibrosis. there is also good correlation between the computed tomography and anatomical pathology findings. the authors studied 10 patients with mesenteric panniculitis submitted to computed tomography. magnetic resonance imaging was also performed in one patient. in all patients, computed tomography revealed a heterogeneous mass in the mesentery with density of fat, interspersed with areas of soft tissue density and dilated vessels.