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The current and future role of endomicroscopy in the management of inflammatory bowel disease.


Confocal laser-induced endomicroscopy (CLE), first introduced in 2003, allows the capture of images of "virtual histology" of the gastrointestinal mucosa during endoscopy, providing the opportunity to retrieve real-time visualization of the pathology of the mucosal epithelium with its cellular and subcellular structures. This new endoscopic imaging technique serves as an adjunctive diagnostic tool to the traditional ileocolonoscopy in the management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. In multiple clinical trials, CLE has been shown to improve detection of dysplasia, assess disease activity, predict future clinical relapses, and assess potential responsiveness to anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy. This review explores in depth the current and future role of CLE in the management of IBD patients.

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