BACKGROUND: Intestinal fibrosis and subsequent strictures represent an important burden in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The detection and evaluation of the degree of fibrosis in stricturing Crohn's disease (CD) is important to address the best therapeutic strategy (medical anti-inflammatory therapy, endoscopic dilation, surgery). Ultrasound elastography (USE) is a non-invasive technique that has been proposed in the field of IBD for evaluating intestinal stiffness as a biomarker of intestinal fibrosis.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review is to discuss the ability and current role of ultrasound elastography in the assessment of intestinal fibrosis.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Data on USE in IBD are provided by pilot and proof-of-concept studies with small sample size. The first type of USE investigated was strain elastography, while shear wave elastography has been introduced lately. Despite the heterogeneity of the methods of the studies, USE has been proven to be able to assess intestinal fibrosis in patients with stricturing CD. However, before introducing this technique in current practice, further studies with larger sample size and homogeneous parameters, testing reproducibility, and identification of validated cut-off values are needed.