PMID: 589914Nov 1, 1977

Aphthoid ulcers in Crohn's colitis

Clinical Radiology
K C Simpkins


Aphthoid ulceration is a strong indication and the earliest radiographic sign of Crohn's colitis. These small discrete ulcers were found by double contrast barium enema examination in 40 out of 91 patients with Crohn's colitis. Seen en face each ulcer appears as a central fleck of barium surrounded by a translucent halo set amidst a patch of normal mucosa. Their detection gives a more accurate assessment of the extent of disease. This information is required in order to plan medical or surgical treatment and can only be provided by meticulous double contrast examination or colonoscopy. Aphthoid ulceration has been demonstrated prior to the onset of bowel symptoms, and several years before the advent of severe colonic disease. The appearance of aphthoid ulcers in established quiescent disease has been observed to herald a relapse. The radiographic demonstration of the evolution of ulceration, which is illustrated, closely reflects what is seen on macroscopic examination of excised specimens and explains the characteristic patchiness and discontinuity of disease.


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