PET/CT imaging has become an important part of the evaluation of patients with many types of cancer. This imaging modality can also be used to image areas of active inflammation, such as those occurring in patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). The standard methods of determining a patient's disease activity are either indirect, such as blood and stool tests, or invasive, such as colonoscopy. FDG-PET imaging is a noninvasive, direct method of evaluating bowel inflammation and represents a significant advancement in the care of these patients. The PET/CT technique is very similar to that used for oncology imaging. Minor changes can be instituted to improve the accuracy, as well as to reduce the radiation exposure to the patient. This paper reviews the literature on the use of FDG-PET imaging in IBD in both the adult and pediatric populations. Future improvements in the technique should focus on decreasing the radiation dose to the patient and on decreasing the cost of the examination. The FDG-PET/CT technique is an excellent method for the noninvasive quantification of bowel inflammation in patients with IBD.
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