CT enterography for Crohn's disease: accurate preoperative diagnostic imaging

Dis Colon Rectum. 2007 Nov;50(11):1761-9. doi: 10.1007/s10350-007-9005-6.


Purpose: CT enterography (CTE) is a technique that provides detailed images of the small bowel by using a low Hounsfield unit oral contrast media. This study was designed to correlate CTE findings with operative findings in patients with Crohn's disease.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of all patients with Crohn's disease of the small bowel or colon, who had CTE and subsequent small bowel or colon surgery within three months after the CT examination. CTE findings of stricture, fistula, inflammatory mass, abscess, and combinations of these abnormalities were compared with operative findings. Specialist radiologists and fellowship-trained colorectal surgeons participated in the study. The Fisher's exact test or chi-squared tests were used with respect to categorical data, and the Wilcoxon's rank-sum test was used for quantitative data.

Results: In 36 patients, the presence or absence of stricture, fistula, abscess, or inflammatory mass was correctly determined by CTE in 100, 94, 100, and 97 percent, respectively. The accuracy for stricture or fistula number was 83 and 86 percent, respectively. There were nine patients with multiple disease phenotypes identified on CTE of which eight were confirmed at surgery. CTE overestimated or underestimated the extent of disease in 11 patients (31 percent).

Conclusions: CTE is an accurate preoperative diagnostic imaging study for small-bowel Crohn's disease. The ability of this imaging study to detect both luminal and extraluminal pathology is a distinct advantage of CTE compared with small-bowel contrast studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Crohn Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*