The role of magnetic resonance imaging in detecting intestinal fibrosis in Crohn's disease

Curr Drug Targets. 2012 Sep 1;13(10):1273-9. doi: 10.2174/138945012802429651.


One of the main challenges for clinicians dealing with Crohn's disease (CD) is to distinguish between inflammation and fibrosis, two sequential steps in the evolution of the intestinal disease. While inflammation is amenable to medical treatment, stricturing disease can only benefit from surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a widely used tool in the diagnosis and assessment of CD. Recent data suggest that this technique might help in discriminating between fibrosis and inflammation and as such potentially guide medical decisions. In this review we will first highlight the main diagnostic techniques for CD. We will then briefly review the main mechanisms of fibrosis in this condition and the use of MRI in CD focusing on findings predictive of fibrosis and fibrotic evolution.

MeSH terms

  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*