The following are some common features of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) on transabdominal ultrasonography (TUS). UC, which consists primarily of mucosal inflammation, is seen on TUS as wall thickening with preserved layer structure continuing from the rectum in the active phase of UC. Inflammation confined to the mucosa is seen as thickening of the mucosal/submucosal layers. When the inflammation becomes severe, the echogenicity of the submucosal layer decreases and the layer structure becomes indistinct. CD, which consists primarily of discontinuous transmural inflammation, shows more pronounced hypoechoic wall thickening than UC at the transmural inflammation. On TUS, the layer structure becomes indistinct and gradually disappears due to the depth of the myriad inflammation during the active phase of CD. It is important to evaluate the changes in wall thickening and layer structure when diagnosing UC and CD with TUS. In addition, diagnostic techniques such as color Doppler and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography, which can be used to assess blood flow, and elastography, which can be used to evaluate stiffness, are also used. Thus, TUS is a noninvasive and convenient modality that shows promise as a useful examination for diagnosis of UC and CD.
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