Which imaging studies are performed in the diagnosis of Crohn disease?

Updated: Jul 26, 2019
  • Author: Leyla J Ghazi, MD; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Plain radiography or computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis can assess for bowel obstruction or pelvic intra-abdominal abscesses. Small bowel follow-through (SBFT) studies are being supplanted by CT enterography or magnetic resonance (MR) enterography, which is better able to distinguish inflammation from fibrosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pelvis or endoscopic (transrectal) ultrasonography can identify perianal fistula anatomy and activity and determine the presence or absence of pelvic and perianal abscesses.

Endoscopic visualization and biopsy are essential in the diagnosis of Crohn disease. Colonoscopy is done to assess for colonic or terminal ileal disease. Upper GI endoscopy may be used to diagnose esophageal or gastroduodenal disease and is recommended for all children, regardless of the presence or absence of upper GI symptoms. (See Workup.)

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