MR enterography

MR enterography is a non-invasive technique for diagnosis of small bowel disorders.

The most common indication is to evaluate patients with Crohn disease (CD). Other less common indications would include coeliac disease, postoperative of adhesions, radiation enteritis, scleroderma, small bowel malignancies, and polyposis syndromes.

The actual procedure will vary depending on institutional protocol/guidelines but below is a typical description 1,2:

  • patients should abstain from all food and drinks for 4-6 h prior to the study
  • patients drink about 1-1.5 L of a 2.5% mannitol solution at regular intervals over a period of approximately 40 minutes prior to the study
    • this solution acts as a hyperosmolar agent which draw fluid into the bowel and (biphasic) appears as low signal intensity on T1-weighted images and high signal intensity on T2-weighted images
  • scanning is ideally performed on a 1.5 T MRI scanner, using a phased array surface coil, either in the supine or prone position
  • comprehensive MR examination of the small bowel usually requires axial and coronal both T1 and T2 weighted images
  • high-resolution ultra-fast sequences such as true fast imaging with steady-state precession (true FISP) and HASTE sequences with and without fat suppression are usually used
  • fat-suppressed three-dimensional (3D) T1-weighted breath-hold gradient-echo images of the abdomen and pelvis before and after intravenous gadolinium-based contrast material administration


  • no ionising radiation
  • high contrast resolution and true (vs CT reconstructions) multiplanar capability
  • it can detect mural small bowel disorders with possible extramural complications and also allows the detection of the extraintestinal solid organ pathologies
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Article information

rID: 30690
Sections: Approach, Physics
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • MRI Enterography
  • Magnetic resonance enterography
  • MR enterography (MRE)

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: normal MR enterography
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    Case 2: with Crohn disease
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    Case 3: normal small bowel on cine MRI sequence
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    Case 4: carcinoid on small bowel MRI
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