Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Mayo Clinic accepts appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System sites.

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Mayo Clinic doctors take time to examine all your symptoms, rule out other digestive diseases and find factors that may be complicating your Crohn's disease. Mayo Clinic doctors use the most sensitive imaging technologies to help pinpoint the location and severity of inflammation. Precise diagnosis is essential for effective treatment of Crohn's disease.

Historically, Crohn's disease has been difficult to diagnose, in part because the small intestine has been difficult to examine. Mayo Clinic researchers helped develop advanced imaging techniques that make it possible for doctors to thoroughly inspect the small bowel.

Besides the usual tests, the following tests are available at Mayo to evaluate your problem:

  • MR and CT enterography. Mayo researchers helped develop these noninvasive tests, which are more sensitive than conventional imaging for finding inflammation in the intestines. These tests also can diagnose pockets of bacterial infection (abscesses) and abnormal tunnels that develop between loops of intestine or between the intestine and other organs (fistulas).
  • Balloon-assisted enteroscopy. Mayo Clinic doctors may use this test for bleeding that can't be found by other methods. After you are sedated, a scope equipped with two balloons is inserted through your mouth into your digestive tract. The balloons inflate and provide a clear view inside folds of tissue.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound. An ultrasound probe attached to an endoscope allows doctors to see deep within the intestine. It's helpful for finding fistulas and the source of unexplained bleeding.

Correctly interpreting intestinal tissue samples (biopsies) is critical in managing Crohn's disease. Mayo Clinic has pathologists who specialize in inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease, and are experienced in interpreting the results.

Aug. 09, 2011