Published online Jan 14, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.160
Revised: November 20, 2008
Accepted: November 27, 2008
Published online: January 14, 2009
Imaging of the gastrointestinal tract is very useful for research and clinical studies of patients with symptoms arising from the gastrointestinal tract and in visualising anatomy and pathology. Traditional radiological techniques played a leading role in such studies for a long time. However, advances in non-invasive modalities including ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc, have in the last decades revolutionised the way in which the gastrointestinal tract is studied. The resolution of imaging data is constantly being improved and 3D acquisition, tools for filtering, enhancement, segmentation and tissue classification are continually being developed. Additional co-registration techniques allow multimodal data acquisition with improved classification of tissue pathology. Furthermore, new functional imaging techniques have become available. Altogether, the future of gastrointestinal imaging looks very promising which will be of great benefit in clinical and research studies of gastrointestinal diseases. The purpose of this review is to highlight the capabilities of the newest techniques to explore the detailed morphology, biomechanical properties, function and pathology of the gastrointestinal tract.