Retractile mesenteritis is a rare, idiopathic condition characterized by nonspecific inflammation of the mesenteric adipose tissue. The majority of patients present with abdominal pain and/or a palpable mass. In the present report, a 68-year-old man with peripheral edema and mild hypoalbuminemia is presented. Protein-losing gastroenteropathy was confirmed with an abnormal stool alpha1-antitrypsin clearance test and retractile mesenteritis was diagnosed at laparoscopy. This rare condition may respond to therapy with corticosteroids, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, colchicine, progesterone, tamoxifen or thalidomide. Gastroenterologists should consider the diagnosis of protein-losing enteropathy in patients who present with unexplained peripheral edema or hypoalbuminemia. The test of choice to confirm this diagnosis is the stool alpha1-antitrypsin clearance test
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