Virtual colonoscopy with magnetic resonance imaging: in vitro evaluation of a new concept

Gastroenterology. 1997 Jun;112(6):1863-70. doi: 10.1053/gast.1997.v112.pm9178678.


Background & aims: Screening for colonic polyps is desirable. A new concept based on cross-sectional and endoscopic analysis of a magnetic resonance (MR) data set is presented.

Methods: Ex vivo autopsy colonic specimens, containing artificially placed polyps, were obtained and filled with a gadolinium-containing solution. Forty-four thin-section MR images were obtained in a 1.5-T MR scanner in 28 seconds. A three-dimensional endoscopic fly-through of these images was rendered. Fly-throughs and two-dimensional cross-sectional images were analyzed by two observers for the presence of polyps.

Results: The average sensitivity and specificity for the detection of polyps based on three-dimensional endoscopic MR colon imaging were 87% and 96%, respectively. Analysis of cross-sectional images showed an overall sensitivity and specificity of merely 57% and 84%, respectively. The difference in the interpretation of three-dimensional MR colonoscopy and two-dimensional cross-sections was statistically significant (P < 0.001). With three-dimensional MR colonoscopy, overall sensitivity for detection of polyps measuring < or =5 mm in length and diameter was 70%; for larger polyps, it increased to 95% (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: The feasibility of an MR-based endoluminal assessment of the colon is shown. Minimal invasiveness, lack of radiation exposure, and high in vitro diagnostic accuracy warrant further investigation of this novel concept.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Polyps / pathology*
  • Colonoscopy
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging