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Magn Reson Med. 2012 Nov;68(5):1527-35. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24163. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Comparison of wideband steady-state free precession and T₂-weighted fast spin echo in spine disorder assessment at 1.5 and 3 T.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

Wideband steady-state free precession (WB-SSFP) is a modification of balanced steady-state free precession utilizing alternating repetition times to reduce susceptibility-induced balanced steady-state free precession limitations, allowing its use for high-resolution myelographic-contrast spinal imaging. Intertissue contrast and spatial resolution of complete-spine-coverage 3D WB-SSFP were compared with those of 2D T₂-weighted fast spin echo, currently the standard for spine T₂-imaging. Six normal subjects were imaged at 1.5 and 3 T. The signal-to-noise ratio efficiency (SNR per unit-time and unit-volume) of several tissues was measured, along with four intertissue contrast-to-noise ratios; nerve-ganglia:fat, intradural-nerves:cerebrospinal fluid, nerve-ganglia:muscle, and muscle:fat. Patients with degenerative and traumatic spine disorders were imaged at both MRI fields to demonstrate WB-SSFP clinical advantages and disadvantages. At 3 T, WB-SSFP provided spinal contrast-to-noise ratios 3.7-5.2 times that of fast spin echo. At 1.5 T, WB-SSFP contrast-to-noise ratio was 3-3.5 times that of fast spin echo, excluding a 1.7 ratio for intradural-nerves:cerebrospinal fluid. WB-SSFP signal-to-noise ratio efficiency was also higher. Three-dimensional WB-SSFP disadvantages relative to 2D fast spin echo are reduced edema hyperintensity, reduced muscle signal, and higher motion sensitivity. WB-SSFP's high resolution and contrast-to-noise ratio improved visualization of intradural nerve bundles, foraminal nerve roots, and extradural nerve bundles, improving detection of nerve compression in radiculopathy and spinal-stenosis. WB-SSFP's high resolution permitted reformatting into orthogonal planes, providing distinct advantages in gauging fine spine pathology.

Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

PMID:
22287191
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3712341
Free PMC Article
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