OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the potential role of an MR small-bowel follow-through (SBFT) technique in the investigation of suspected pediatric small-bowel abnormalities.MATERIALS AND METHODS. Between September 2003 and January 2008, 280 MR SBFT examinations were performed for investigation of known or suspected small-bowel abnormalities, including 19 of 280 examinations in 17 children ( mean age, 13 years; age range 6-17 years), representing the current study population. A standardized technique was used in all cases, including axial and coronal steady-state free precession acquisitions at successive time intervals until completion. Retrospective analysis of the studies obtained was performed by two radiologists, who blindly and independently scored predefined small-bowel segments according to the degree of luminal distention achieved. Any pathologic lesions detected were also noted. Indicators of examination success as a whole ( volume, tolerability, and side effects of oral contrast material) were also noted, as were details pertaining to examination duration ( number of visits to the MR table, total table time).RESULTS. Oral contrast medium was ingested and subsequent imaging was possible in all patients; 84.2% of patients tolerated the oral contrast material well and 15.8% showed moderate tolerance. The MR table time ranged from 2 to 4 minutes, without early termination of the examination in any case. The average number of visits to the MR table was 1.3 ( range, 1-3). The mean duration for complete small-bowel evaluation was 25 minutes ( range, 20-60 minutes). The mean distention scores were well within the diagnostic range in all small-bowel segments for both observers, with a substantial degree of interobserver agreement in score assignment (kappa = 0.73). Pathologic lesions were identified in 53% of studies.CONCLUSION. MR SBFT represents a promising, and perhaps optimal, technique for pediatric small-bowel evaluation for a variety of reasons, including its high tolerability, lack of ionizing radiation, avoidance of duodenojejunal intubation, and excellent luminal distention achieved. Furthermore, this technique allows "pseudodynamic" functional imaging while also showing extraluminal disease, without known biologic risk.