The potential of new high-field-strength magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sequences to evaluate bowel disease was investigated and compared with computed tomographic (CT) studies. Thirty-two patients were studied, 14 with known or suspected gastrointestinal tumors and 18 with known or suspected bowel inflammatory conditions. T1-weighted fat-suppressed spin-echo and breath-hold FLASH (fast low-angle shot) images were obtained before and after intravenous injection of 0.1 mmol/kg gadopentetate dimeglumine. Pathologic confirmation was obtained by biopsy (n = 18), surgical excision (n = 8), or endoscopy (n = 6). CT and MR images were analyzed separately in a prospective fashion and reviewed by consensus. Information from CT and MR images was comparable in cases of confirmed bowel neoplasia. CT scans had better spatial resolution, while fat-suppressed gadolinium-enhanced MR images had better contrast resolution. In the 18 cases of bowel inflammation, CT scans showed concentric wall thickening in 16, while MR images showed concentric wall thickening in 14 and increased contrast enhancement in 17. Contrast enhancement was better appreciated on fat-suppressed images than on FLASH images. The results suggest that MR imaging may play a role in the evaluation of bowel disease.