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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 4, Issue 7, Pages 317-323
IDB: Diagnosis

Pitfalls in the Radiological Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

GP LeBrun

Department of Radiology, Victoria General Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Effective management of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) depends upon accurate diagnosis. The classic radiological features of this group of diseases have been extensively described. In addition, newer modalities such as ultrasound, computed tomography scanning, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear medicine have been added to the diagnostic armamentarium. In spite of this the patient with IBD often presents a diagnostic dilemma as these conditions may mimic, and be mimicked by, other diseases. In particular, infectious, neoplastic and vascular etiologies should be considered in the differential diagnosis of IBD and suspected especially if the radiological appearances are not typical. Accurate diagnosis requires the selection of radiological examinations appropriate to the clinical situation which must be performed and interpreted with an awareness of the many pitfalls in this type of diagnosis.