Guide to magnetic resonance in Crohn's disease: From common findings to the more rare complicances



Considering that multiple imaging examinations are often necessary for monitoring Crohn's disease (CD) activity and severity in order to guide and monitor appropriate treatment, the ideal imaging test would be reproducible, well tolerated by patients, and free of ionizing radiation. For these reasons recent studies have highlighted the role of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique optimized for small bowel imaging in the evaluation of small bowel disorders. In this regard there are two main methodological approaches represented by MR enterography, following administration of an oral contrast medium, and MR enteroclysis, following administration of contrast medium through a nasojejuneal tube. MRI may be used to demonstrate the pathologic findings and complications of CD. In particular, MR has excellent sensitivity and specificity, ranging from 88%–98% and 78%–100%, respectively, for the detection of active inflammation, wall thickening, ulcerations, increased wall enhancement, increased vascularity, perienteric inflammation, and reactive adenopathy. MR also allows more accurate identification of associated complications including penetrating and fibrostenotic disease as well as the more rare extraintestinal manifestations that are usually associated with severe and longstanding intestinal inflammation, the latter often guiding the therapeutic approach. In the progression of CD some rare complications can occur that, to our knowledge, were only briefly or never mentioned in the radiological literature regarding MR enterography or enteroclysis and in which the application of these techniques play a key role. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2010;)