Differentiation of perianal fistulas with digital subtraction magnetic resonance fistulography

Oliver Schaefer, Christian Lohrmann, Wolfgang Kreisel, Jens Rasenack, Guenther Ruf, Ulrich Hopt, Mathias Langer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is accurate in identifying perianal fistulas. The exact visualization of fistulous tracts and concomitant abscesses determine the type of treatment. To improve the detection of perianal fistulas, we studied digital subtraction MR-fistulogaphy for tissue differentiation based on signal intensity measurements. Methods: This study included 75 patients with the clinical diagnosis of perianal fistula. All patients were analyzed by a thin-slice, high-resolution, fast low-angle shot 3-dimensional sequence in the axial plane before and after intravenous injection of gadobenate dimeglumine, followed by image subtraction. Operator-defined regions of interest were used to calculate signal intensities of the inflamed fibrous walls of fistulas, the common femoral artery, the internal and external sphincter muscles, and the gluteus muscle. The fistulas were classified according to Parks classification. Results: Based on signal intensity measurements in 75 patients with perianal fistulas, diagnosed by digital subtraction MR-fistulography, a significant differentiation between fistulous tracts and anatomic structures was possible. MRI identified 116 perianal fistulas (34 intersphincteric, 33 transsphincteric, 10 suprasphincteric, and 39 extrasphincteric) and 35 abscesses. Conclusions: Digital subtraction MR-fistulography is a new, promising, noninvasive imaging technique for the detection of perianal fistulas and abscesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Anus
  • Fistula
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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