Published online Nov 21, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i43.9477
Peer-review started: June 29, 2016
First decision: August 29, 2016
Revised: September 11, 2016
Accepted: October 19, 2016
Article in press: October 19, 2016
Published online: November 21, 2016
Ultrasound is an undervalued non-invasive examination in the diagnosis of colonic diseases. It has been replaced by the considerably more expensive magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, despite the fact that, as first examination, it can usefully supplement the diagnostic process. Transabdominal ultrasound can provide quick information about bowel status and help in the choice of adequate further examinations and treatment. Ultrasonography, as a screening imaging modality in asymptomatic patients can identify several colonic diseases such as diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. In addition, it is widely available, cheap, non-invasive technique without the use of ionizing radiation, therefore it is safe to use in childhood or during pregnancy, and can be repeated at any time. New ultrasound techniques such as elastography, contrast enhanced and Doppler ultrasound, mini-probes rectal and transperineal ultrasonography have broadened the indication. It gives an overview of the methodology of various ultrasound examinations, presents the morphology of normal bowel wall and the typical changes in different colonic diseases. We will pay particular attention to rectal and transperineal ultrasound because of their outstanding significance in the diagnosis of rectal and perineal disorders. This article seeks to overview the diagnostic impact and correct indications of bowel ultrasound.
Core tip: Ultrasound is an easy to perform and widely available examination, which could be useful as a first-line diagnostic modality for the identification of numerous colonic diseases, nevertheless it is undervalued and is not performed in all patients. Therefore, the aim of our publication is to assess the advantages and limitations of transabdominal, rectal, transperineal ultrasound and mini-probe examination in the diagnosis of colonic disorders. In addition, it summarizes the typical ultrasound morphological signs.