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Computed Tomography Enterography and Magnetic Resonance Enterography

Gastrointestinal radiologists use computed tomography and magnetic resonance enterography with intravenous and oral contrast to evaluate the small intestine

Overview

Specialty-trained gastrointestinal radiologists offer computed tomography enterography (CTE) and magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) to evaluate the small intestine. These are noninvasive procedures that use both intravenous and oral contrast to create detailed images of the small bowel.

These procedures use the cross-sectional imaging technology of computed tomography or magnetic resonance to assess the small intestine, the surrounding mesentery, vasculature and other adjacent structures.

  • To evaluate known or suspected inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • To determine an etiology for occult gastrointestinal bleeding
  • To assess small bowel lesions

Computed tomography enterography (CTE) is non-invasive, accurate, and useful in identifying problems within the bowel. The procedure involves specialized imaging with injected contrast and ingestion of a liquid to visualize the thickness of the bowel wall.

Magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) is a non-invasive medical imaging procedure that uses a magnetic field rather than ionizing radiation. The exam produces detailed images to identify and diagnose bleeding, inflammation and problems in the small intestine.

CTE and MRE are especially well-suited for patients with inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. A single examination may determine the status of the disease and also assess for complications including abscess, fistula, or obstruction. Follow up studies are often performed to assess for response to treatment.

These procedures may also be indicated for occult gastrointestinal bleeding or to assess for focal small bowel pathology. The bowel wall is well appreciated with CTE and MRE so that tumors within the intestinal wall may be identified, including lesions that may not be visible within the bowel lumen with standard endoscopy or capsule endoscopy.  

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