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Radiographics. 2014 Jan-Feb;34(1):217-33. doi: 10.1148/rg.341135130.

Fat-suppression techniques for 3-T MR imaging of the musculoskeletal system.

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  • 1From the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md (F.D.G., M.R.A., J.A.C.); Division of Radiological Physics, Department of Radiology, Clinic of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland (F.S.); Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (D.A.H.); Department of Radiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Fla (C.W.D.); and Departments of Radiology, Bioengineering, and Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif (G.E.G.). Recipient of a Certificate of Merit award for an education exhibit at the 2012 RSNA Annual Meeting.


Fat suppression is an important technique in musculoskeletal imaging to improve the visibility of bone-marrow lesions; evaluate fat in soft-tissue masses; optimize the contrast-to-noise ratio in magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography; better define lesions after administration of contrast material; and avoid chemical shift artifacts, primarily at 3-T MR imaging. High-field-strength (eg, 3-T) MR imaging has specific technical characteristics compared with lower-field-strength MR imaging that influence the use and outcome of various fat-suppression techniques. The most commonly used fat-suppression techniques for musculoskeletal 3-T MR imaging include chemical shift (spectral) selective (CHESS) fat saturation, inversion recovery pulse sequences (eg, short inversion time inversion recovery [STIR]), hybrid pulse sequences with spectral and inversion-recovery (eg, spectral adiabatic inversion recovery and spectral attenuated inversion recovery [SPAIR]), spatial-spectral pulse sequences (ie, water excitation), and the Dixon techniques. Understanding the different fat-suppression options allows radiologists to adopt the most appropriate technique for their clinical practice.

©RSNA, 2014.

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