In 240 patients with predefined indications, the validity of ultrasound imaging as a primary diagnostic procedure was examined prospectively. Ultrasonography revealed normal intestinal findings in 150 patients and pathological lesions in 90 subjects. All patients underwent subsequent endoscopic, radiological, or surgical examination. In 7 patients with Crohn's disease and in 2 patients with radiation colitis, the ultrasound findings were false-negative. In the other 9 cases, ultrasonography suggested false-positive results. Ultrasonographic examination of the small intestine and large bowel had a very high overall validity, with a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 94%.