Towards a radiologic definition of idiopathic megacolon

Gastrointest Radiol. 1985;10(2):167-9. doi: 10.1007/BF01893094.


Measurements of bowel width and rectal area were used to define normal limits of size in 50 double-contrast barium enema films. Two types of patient with constipation were defined by comparison with these results. In 18 women with prolonged whole-gut transit time, the measurements were within the normal range. Of 11 men and 9 women with a previous radiologic diagnosis of idiopathic megacolon, all had an enlarged rectum and the abnormal width extended proximally to involve the colon for a variable distance. A width of 6.5 cm at the pelvic brim provides a convenient and discriminating separation of normal from abnormal.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Megacolon / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography