Published online Aug 28, 2015. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v7.i8.198
Peer-review started: February 1, 2015
First decision: March 6, 2015
Revised: March 26, 2015
Accepted: May 26, 2015
Article in press: May 27, 2015
Published online: August 28, 2015
The study of the small bowel (SB) has always been challenging both for clinicians and radiologist. It is a long and tortuous tube that can be affected by various pathologies whose signs and symptoms are usually non specific and can mimic other acute abdominal disorders. For these reasons, imaging plays a central role in the diagnosis of the different pathological conditions that can occur. They are important also in the management and follow up of chronic diseases. We expose and evaluate all the radiological methods that are now available for the study of the SB with particular emphasis on the technological improvement of cross-sectional imaging, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These techniques have, infact, highly improved in terms of execution times (fast acquisitions images), patients discomfort and radiation dose, for CT, with consequent reduced biological risks. Moreover, the new post-processing options with multiplanar reconstruction and isotropic images have made significant changes in the evaluation of the exams. Especially MRI scans have been improved by the advent of new sequences, such as diffusion weighted imaging and cine-MRI, parallel imaging and breath-hold sequences and can provide excellent soft-tissue contrast without the use of ionizing radiations.
Core tip: The small bowel (SB) has always been a challenging organ for clinical and radiologic evaluation. The purpose of our article is to evaluate all the imaging methods now available for the study of the SB with particular emphasis on the technological improvement of cross-sectional imaging.