Indium 111-leukocyte scanning has recently been introduced as a new method for imaging inflammatory bowel disease. The technique has recently been made more specific for acute inflammation by labeling a pure granulocyte fraction rather than the conventional mixed leukocyte preparation. We now report a prospective study comparing 111In-granulocyte scanning with endoscopy, histology, and fecal 111In-granulocyte excretion for the assessment of disease extent and severity in colonic inflammatory bowel disease. In 52 patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, disease extent and severity were assessed macroscopically, histologically, or by scanning using a numerical grading system. Excellent correlations were found between both endoscopy and histology and 111In scans [r = 0.90 (endoscopy) and r = 0.90 (histology) for extent; r = 0.86 and r = 0.91 for disease activity]. Severity graded by scanning also showed a close correlation with fecal 111In-granulocyte excretion (r = 0.90). Indium 111-granulocyte scans are a rapid, accurate, noninvasive means of assessing both disease extent and severity of colonic involvement in inflammatory bowel disease.