MR imaging of the small bowel – technique and current applications

Author(s): Sananda Haldar, Amanda Jewison, Neil Barlow, David C Howlett

Hospital: Eastbourne District General Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 40, 474, 21-22

Excerpt: 

Increased importance has been placed on evaluating small bowel disease to guide management in often chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Imaging of the small bowel has always played a key role in diagnosis and decision making. Traditionally, fluoroscopic studies such as barium follow through and small bowel enteroclysis have been used. More recently, the gold standard of evaluating the small bowel has moved towards cross sectional modalities with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

MR has the properties to make it well suited for small bowel imaging. It has the ability to show good mucosal detail, transmural inflammation, extra-luminal changes and fistula formation. These qualities outperform barium techniques and provide important clinical distinction between active, inflammatory and chronic disease.

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