Magnetic Resonance Enterography: State of the Art

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Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the gastrointestinal tract manifested by frequent periods of relapses and remissions of symptoms. The small bowel is most frequently affected. Progression of transmural inflammation can lead to stricturing or penetrating complications. At the time of diagnosis, approximately 10% of patients have disease beyond the reach of the colonoscope. Imaging can aid in clinical evaluation by depicting small bowel involvement and extraenteric disease. Magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) has emerged as a valuable tool and is being used with increasing frequency for the diagnosis and management of Crohn's disease. This article will discuss the current state of the art in MRE. In addition to reviewing the literature reporting its utility, we will present case examples illustrating how MRE best depicts the various findings of Crohn's disease within 4 imaging categories of disease: active inflammatory, fibrostenotic, fistulizing/perforating, and reparative or regenerative. We will present additional important clinical considerations in routine use of MRE, including implications for monitoring disease activity and response to treatment, cost-effectiveness, and appropriate use in the context of the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria.

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