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Neuroradiology. 2003 Feb;45(2):90-4. Epub 2003 Jan 15.

Diffusion-weighted MRI of the cervical spinal cord using a single-shot fast spin-echo technique: findings in normal subjects and in myelomalacia.

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Department of Radiology, Kyorin University School of Medicine, 6-20-2 Shinkawa, Mitaka, 181-8611 Tokyo, Japan.


We have implemented a new diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) sequence based on the single-shot fast spin-echo technique. We hypothesised that this would add information to conventional MRI for diagnosis of lesions of the cervical spinal cord. DWI was performed using a technique in which echo collection after the application of motion-probing gradients was done in the same manner as in the single-shot fast spin-echo technique. We first imaged six healthy volunteers to demonstrate the cervical spinal cord using the sequence. Then we applied the sequence to 12 patients with cervical myelomalacia due to chronic cord compression. The spinal cord was well seen in all subjects without the distortion associated with echo-planar DWI. In the patients, lesions appeared as areas of low- or isointense signal on DWI. Calculated apparent diffusion coefficients of the lesions (3.30+/-0.38x10(-3) mm(2)/s) were significantly higher than those of normal volunteers (2.26+/-0.08x10(-3) mm(2)/s). Increased diffusion in areas of cervical myelomalacia, suggesting irreversible damage, can be detected using this technique.

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