What is the role of CT enterography/CT enteroclysis in the workup of small-bowel obstruction (SBO)?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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This modality is replacing enteroclysis in clinical practice. [13, 14, 15]  In addition, it is the examination of choice for intermittent SBO and in patients with a complicated surgical history (eg, prior surgery, tumors). [16, 17, 18]

CT enterography displays the entire thickness of the bowel wall and allows evaluation of surrounding mesentery and perinephric fat. [13]  It uses CT-scanning technology to scan thin slices of bowel while simultaneously using large-volume enteric contrast material for imagery. [13]

CT enterography is more accurate than conventional CT scanning at finding the cause of SBO (89% vs 50%, respectively), as well as at locating the site of the obstruction (100% vs 94%, respectively). [19]  It is useful in patients being managed conservatively (ie, nonoperatively). [19]

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