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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2011 Apr;33(4):758-71. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22342.

Routine 3D magnetic resonance imaging of joints.

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Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


Due to its high spatial resolution and excellent tissue contrast, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become the most commonly used imaging method to evaluate joints. Most musculoskeletal MRI is performed using 2D fast spin-echo sequences. However, 3D sequences have also been used for joint imaging and have the advantage of acquiring thin continuous slices through joints, which reduces the effects of partial volume averaging. With recent advances in MR technology, 3D sequences with isotropic resolution have been developed. These sequences allow high-quality multiplanar reformat images to be obtained following a single acquisition, thereby eliminating the need to repeat sequences with identical tissue contrast in different planes. Preliminary results on the diagnostic performance of 3D isotropic resolution sequences are encouraging. However, additional studies are needed to determine whether these sequences can replace currently used 2D fast spin-echo sequences for providing comprehensive joint assessment in clinical practice.

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