GI Radiology > Colon > Inflammatory Diseases > Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory diseases

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is an idiopathic chronic inflammatory disease that is characterized by superficial ulcerations, edema, and hyperemia of the colonic mucosa and submucosa. Patients may present with bloody diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, fecal urgency, or tenesmus. The disease usually begins in the rectum and extends proximally in a continuous pattern.

The radiographic hallmarks of ulcerative colitis are confluent, circumferencial, shallow ulcerations of the colon, granular mucosa, collar button ulcers, and "thumbprinting." Complications may include stricture formation, toxic megacolon, massive hemorrhage, polyps, a 1% increased risk of colorectal adenocarcinoma per year of disease. Extraintestinal diseases associated with ulcerative colitis include sacroiliitis, uveitis, iritis, cholangitis, and thromboembolic disease.

Treatment may consist of dietary modifications, antidiarrheal agents, 5-aminosalicylic acid agents, and topical/oral mesalamine or corticosteroids.

CT showing inflammation and bowel wall thickening in ulcerative colitis


© Copyright Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia 2021