The diagnosis of Crohn's disease should include assessment of the presence, severity, and extent of disease, inflammatory lesion activity, and the presence of extra-intestinal complications to aid in treatment planning, which largely depends on imaging findings, particularly those of cross-sectional imaging. Endoscopy and barium studies are the principal tools for diagnosis and evaluation of Crohn's disease; however, they are limited in their capability to demonstrate the transmural or extramural extent of disease or extra-intestinal complications.
With MRI, both inflammatory changes of the bowel wall and the extramural complications of Crohn's disease can be assessed. The non-invasive-ness of this technique, as well as its lack of ionizing radiation, has prompted many groups to perform systematic studies of MRI for evaluation of Crohn's disease.
Computed tomography (CT) is currently the cross-sectional imaging modality of choice at most institutions; however, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has also proved highly effective in this setting. The role of cross-sectional imaging in the diagnosis of Crohn's disease has expanded with recent advances in CT and MR imaging technology, which allow rapid acquisition of high-resolution images of the intestines during a breath-hold examination. Both imaging modalities provide information that is crucial in the diagnosis of Crohn's disease and in treatment planning [7-16].
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