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This study evaluated the role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the demonstration of the pelvic and perianal complications of Crohn's disease. Twenty five patients with active Crohn's disease were studied (12 male; mean age 41.1 years). MRI examinations were performed using a 1.5 Tesla system, within 14 days after clinical assessment. T1 and T2 weighted fast spin echo sequences in two or three orthogonal planes were performed, with fat suppression in some cases. The MRI results were correlated with surgical and clinical findings. In 16 patients, cutaneous, deep perineal or enterovesical fistulas or abscesses were diagnosed at MRI which showed close correlation with findings at examination under anaesthetic. In eight patients no fistulas or abscesses were seen at MRI nor was there any evidence of complications on clinical examination and flexible sigmoidoscopy. There was one false negative examination in a patient who had a colovesical fistula. In conclusion, MRI can accurately show the pelvic and perineal complications of Crohn's disease and may render examination under anaesthetic unnecessary.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





407 - 410


Abdominal Abscess, Adult, Crohn Disease, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Rectal Fistula