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Med Phys. 2010 Oct;37(10):5165-78.

Differentiation between diamagnetic and paramagnetic cerebral lesions based on magnetic susceptibility mapping.

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Medical Physics Group, Department of Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology, Jena University Hospital, Philosophenweg 3, 07743 Jena, Germany.



Identification of calcifications and hemorrhages is essential for the etiological diagnosis of cerebral lesions. The purpose of this work was to develop a robust method for characterization of para- and diamagnetic intracerebral lesions based on clinical gradient-echo magnetic resonance phase data acquired at 1.5 Tesla.


The magnetic susceptibility distribution of biological tissue produces a distinct magnetic field pattern, which is directly reflected in gradient-echo magnetic resonance phase images. Compared to brain parenchyma, iron-laden tissues are more paramagnetic, whereas mineralized tissues usually possess more diamagnetic susceptibilities. Magnetic resonance phase data were inverted to the underlying susceptibility distribution utilizing additional geometrical information about the lesions, which was obtained from the gradient-echo magnitude signal void corresponding to the lesions. Clinical magnetic resonance exams of three patients with multiple brain lesions (total n = 70) were processed and evaluated. For one patient, the results were validated by an additionally available computed tomography scan. Numerical simulations were conducted to evaluate the robustness of the method.


The obtained susceptibility maps showed impressive delineation of lesions, vessels, and potentially iron-laden tissue. Compensation of the nonlocal field perturbations was clearly discernable on the susceptibility maps. In all cases, discrimination of para- from diamagnetic lesions was achieved and the results were confirmed by the additional computed tomography. The numerical simulations demonstrated that robust determination of the total magnetic moment of lesions is possible. Thus, the proposed method is able to yield quantitative values for the minimum magnetic susceptibility of lesions.


A method has been developed for noninvasive, semiautomatic characterization of brain lesions based on magnetic resonance imaging data. Initial clinical results demonstrated that the proposed technique can be applied to diagnosis of lesions with calcifications or hemorrhages. If confirmed by larger studies, it bears the potential to obviate the need for confirmation with computed tomography.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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