Ascites versus pleural effusion on CT

How is ascites differentiated from pleural effusion on CT?

1. Ascites is located anterior and pleural fluid posterior to the diaphragmatic crus.

2. Pleural effusion can appear to contact the spine.

3. Ascites has a sharper interface with intraabdominal organs than pleural fluid.

4. Unlike pleural fluid, ascites spares the bare area of the liver, which lies along the posterior border of the right hepatic lobe.

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