Modern Imaging of Crohn's Disease Using Bowel Ultrasound

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Technological advancement of ultrasound (US) equipments and understanding of bowel appearances with high resolution US during the last decade has led to consideration of this imaging procedure as an important tool for inflammatory bowel diseases assessment. In particular, Crohn's disease (CD) for its pathologic characteristics (that is, inflammatory infiltration of the entire bowel wall with possible extension to the surrounding mesentery) is the disease entity which has mainly taken advantage from this non-invasive, radiation-free technique. Beside correctly defining anatomic location and extension of CD lesions within the bowel in the majority of cases, US also shows perigut abnormalities and may demonstrate complications such as fistulas and abscesses. With the help of Power Doppler function, some additional information may be obtained about the local activity of the disease which is particularly useful in the presence of strictures.

New US technologies (such as those using intravenous bolus contrast agents or oral nonabsorbable anechoic solutions) may further improve diagnostic capability of US in this context, thus probably revolutioning the diagnostic approach to this disease in the near future, particularly during follow-up in CD of the small bowel.

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