BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of extra-enteric findings in a large cohort of patients undergoing magnetic resonance enterography (MR-E) and to classify the clinical significance of these findings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 1154 MR-E performed in 1006 patients referred to our radiological department between 1999-2005. The reasons for referral were suspected or proven inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) (n = 710), further diagnostic work-up for small bowel disease because of non-specific abdominal symptoms (SBD; n = 182) or suspected small bowel malignancies (SBM; n = 114). All extra-enteric findings were reviewed by a radiologist and a gastroenterologist and were classified as having high, moderate, or low significance for further diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. RESULTS: The average age of all patients was 40+/-16 (Mean+/-SD) years (y) (IBD 35+/-13 y; SBD 49+/-16 y; SBM 57+/-15 y). A total of 1113 extra-enteric findings were detected in 600 of 1006 patients (59.6%). Of these findings 180 (16.2%) were judged as having a high, 212 (19.0%) a moderate and 721 (64.8%) a low significance. On a per group basis in patients with IBD 12.0% of the findings were of major clinical significance compared to 13.7% and 33.3% in patients with SBD and SBM, respectively. The most common major findings were abscesses (69.9%) in the IBD group and extraintestinal tumors, metastases or masses in the SBD and SBM groups (41.9% and 74.2%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: MR-E reveals a substantial number of extra-enteric findings, supporting the role of a cross-sectional imaging method for the evaluation of the small bowel.