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Radiology. 1991 Jun;179(3):615-21.

Trabecular structure: preliminary application of MR interferometry.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104.


A new approach to probe the structure of trabecular bone in the vertebral bodies in humans was evaluated, and preliminary data are presented. The proposed method is based on the hypothesis that the presence of two physical phases--bone and bone marrow--causes a magnetic field distribution across the imaging voxel. The resulting spread in resonance frequency produces line broadening, which is measured as the decay rate of the region of interest signal intensity that has the properties of an interferogram. The interferogram is the result of two principal chemically shifted components of bone marrow--fat and water--getting in and out of phase with one another while being attenuated by T2* processes from the magnetic field distribution within the measuring volume. The time constant for the decay (T2*) can then be obtained by means of curve-fitting techniques. T2* in healthy persons is found to increase slightly with age. However, patients with osteoporosis (low bone mineral density and/or spine compression fractures) have significantly prolonged T2* values, which are interpreted as arising from an increase in the intertrabecular space.

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