Combined small and large bowel MR imaging in patients with Crohn's disease: a feasibility study

Eur Radiol. 2004 Sep;14(9):1535-42. doi: 10.1007/s00330-004-2364-7. Epub 2004 Jun 18.


MRI of the small bowel is a new method for the assessment of inflammatory bowel diseases. However, inflammatory bowel disease can affect both the small and large bowel. Therefore, our goal was to assess the feasibility of displaying the small bowel and colon simultaneously by MR imaging. Eighteen patients with inflammatory bowel disease were studied. For small bowel distension, patients ingested a solution containing mannitol and locust bean gum. Furthermore, the colon was rectally filled with water. MR examinations were performed on a 1.5-T system. Before and after intravenous gadolinium administration, a T1w data set was collected. All patients underwent conventional colonoscopy as a standard of reference. The oral ingestion and the rectal application of water allowed an assessment of the small bowel and colon in all patients. By means of MRI (endoscopy), 19 (13) inflamed bowel segments in the colon and terminal ileum were detected. Furthermore, eight additional inflammatory lesions in the jejunum and proximal ileum that had not been endoscopically accessible were found by MRI. The simultaneous display of the small and large bowel by MRI is feasible. Major advantages of the proposed MR concept are related to its non-invasive character as well as to the potential to visualize parts of the small bowel that cannot be reached by endoscopy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Intestine, Large / pathology*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity