Small bowel imaging- a rapidly changing field and a challenge to radiology

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Abstract

There was a time when the small bowel follow-through (SBFT) was the primary method of diagnosing diseases of the small intestine. Enteroclysis was reinvented in the 70's and with the SBFT remained the dominant methods of investigating the mesenteric small intestine to the late 90's. Since the introduction of the first commercial computed tomography (CT) scanner in 1973, the ability of monoslice CT to diagnose different causes of intestinal obstruction and inflammatory bowel diseases emerged. The introduction of helical CT technology in 1989 and subsequently multichannel CT further changed small bowel imaging. Faster asquisition of a large volume of data with thinner collimation allowed multiplanar reformatting a distinct advantage in evaluating an organ which is longer than wide. The introduction of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with its increased soft tissue contrast, lack of ionizing radiation, and the ability to acquire ultrafast sequences has made MR imaging an important tool in small bowel imaging (1).

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