Computed tomographic (CT) enterography combines the improved spatial and temporal resolution of multi-detector row CT with large volumes of ingested neutral enteric contrast material to permit visualization of the small bowel wall and lumen. Adequate luminal distention can usually be achieved with oral hyperhydration, thereby obviating nasoenteric intubation and making CT enterography a useful, well-tolerated study for the evaluation of diseases affecting the mucosa and bowel wall. Unlike routine CT, which has been used to detect the extraenteric complications of Crohn disease such as fistula and abscess, CT enterography clearly depicts the small bowel inflammation associated with Crohn disease by displaying mural hyperenhancement, stratification, and thickening; engorged vasa recta; and perienteric inflammatory changes. As a result, CT enterography is becoming the first-line modality for the evaluation of suspected inflammatory bowel disease. CT enterography has also become an important alternative to traditional fluoroscopy in the assessment of other small bowel disorders such as celiac sprue and small bowel neoplasms.
Copyright RSNA, 2006.