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Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 Jul;26(6):754-62. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Influence of multichannel combination, parallel imaging and other reconstruction techniques on MRI noise characteristics.

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Josef Lissner Laboratory for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Clinical Radiology-Grosshadern, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 81377 Munich, Germany.


The statistical properties of background noise such as its standard deviation and mean value are frequently used to estimate the original noise level of the acquired data. This requires the knowledge of the statistical intensity distribution of the background signal, that is, the probability density of the occurrence of a certain signal intensity. The influence of many new MRI techniques and, in particular, of various parallel-imaging methods on the noise statistics has neither been rigorously investigated nor experimentally demonstrated yet. In this study, the statistical distribution of background noise was analyzed for MR acquisitions with a single-channel and a 32-channel coil, with sum-of-squares (SoS) and spatial-matched-filter (SMF) data combination, with and without parallel imaging using k-space and image-domain algorithms, with real-part and conventional magnitude reconstruction and with several reconstruction filters. Depending on the imaging technique, the background noise could be described by a Rayleigh distribution, a noncentral chi-distribution or the positive half of a Gaussian distribution. In particular, the noise characteristics of SoS-reconstructed multichannel acquisitions (with k-space-based parallel imaging or without parallel imaging) differ substantially from those with image-domain parallel imaging or SMF combination. These effects must be taken into account if mean values or standard deviations of background noise are employed for data analysis such as determination of local noise levels. Assuming a Rayleigh distribution as in conventional MR images or a noncentral chi-distribution for all multichannel acquisitions is invalid in general and may lead to erroneous estimates of the signal-to-noise ratio or the contrast-to-noise ratio.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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