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Med Phys. 2011 Nov;38(11):5961-8. doi: 10.1118/1.3646756.

Comparison of breast density measured on MR images acquired using fat-suppressed versus nonfat-suppressed sequences.

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Department of Radiological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.



To investigate the difference of MR percent breast density measured from fat-suppressed versus nonfat-suppressed imaging sequences.


Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with and without fat suppression was acquired from 38 subjects. Breasts were divided into subgroups of different morphological patterns ("central" and "intermingled" types). Breast volume, fibroglandular tissue volume, and percent density were measured. The results were compared using nonparametric statistical tests and regarded as significant at p < 0.05.


Breast volume, fibroglandular volume, and percent density between fat-suppressed and nonfat-suppressed sequences were highly correlated. Breast volumes measured on these two sequences were almost identical. Fibroglandular tissue volume and percent density, however, had small (<5%) yet significant differences between the two sequences-they were both higher on the fat-suppressed sequence. Intraobserver variability was within 4% for both sequences and different morphological types. The fibroglandular tissue volume measured on downsampled images showed a small (<5%) yet significant difference.


The measurement of breast density made on MRI acquired using fat-suppressed and nonfat-suppressed T1W images was about 5% difference, only slightly higher than the intraobserver variability of 3%-4%. When the density data from multiple centers were to be combined, evaluating the degree of difference is needed to take this difference into account.

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