Published online Feb 28, 2016. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v8.i2.124
Peer-review started: May 8, 2015
First decision: September 8, 2015
Revised: November 24, 2015
Accepted: January 5, 2016
Article in press: January 7, 2016
Published online: February 28, 2016
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a lifelong condition with waxing and waning disease course that requires reassessment of disease status as well as screening for complications throughout a patient’s lifetime. Laboratory testing, endoscopic assessment, and fecal biomarkers are often used in the initial diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of a patient with IBD. Imaging plays an integral role in the diagnosis and evaluation of IBD. Different imaging modalities can be used over the course of a patient’s lifetime, from the initial screening and diagnosis of IBD, to determining the extent of intestinal involvement, monitoring for disease activity, and evaluating for complications of uncontrolled IBD. The various imaging modalities available to the provider each have a unique set of risks and benefits when considering cost, radiation exposure, need for anesthesia, and image quality. In this article we review the imaging techniques available for the evaluation of IBD including fluoroscopic small bowel follow-through, computed tomography enterography, magnetic resonance enterography, and transabdominal ultrasound with particular focus on the judicious use of imaging and the risks and benefits of each option. We also review the risks of ionizing radiation, strategies to reduce exposure to ionizing radiation, and current imaging guidelines among pediatric and adult patient with IBD.
Core tip: Imaging plays a key role in the diagnosis and lifelong evaluation of a patient with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Several imaging modalities are available, each with a unique set of risks and benefits when considering cost, anesthesia risk in the pediatric population, ionizing radiation, image quality, and availability. In this article, we review the imaging techniques available for evaluation of IBD, with particular focus on judicious use of ionizing radiation. We also review current imaging guidelines among pediatric and adult patients with IBD.