Introduction: Mesenteric panniculitis is a rare pathology of unknown etiology characterized by inflammation and fibrosis in the mesentery. Its protean clinical and radiological manifestations make it a diagnostic challenge. There is no established treatment available for its management. The clinical outcome is inconsistent, with the prognosis ranging from complete resolution without any treatment to rapid progression culminating in death. Case presentation: A 33-year-old Pakistani man presented with vague abdominal pain, an ill-defined epigastric mass and bilateral pedal edema. A detailed review of his history and laboratory investigations did not point to any diagnosis. The patient underwent an exploratory laparotomy based on the finding of mesenteric soft-tissue density on computed tomography. The laparotomy did not prove to be of any diagnostic or therapeutic value. Upon review of the pre-operative computed tomographic scan at our institution, a diagnosis of mesenteric panniculitis was made. An acceptable resolution of abdominal pain and pedal edema was attained after a 4-week trial of immunosuppressive therapy. This is the first reported case of mesenteric panniculitis with pedal edema as part of its presentation. Conclusion: An increased awareness may lead to the development of a less invasive diagnostic approach and optimal treatment for this rarely recognized condition.