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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2019 Jul;50(1):62-70. doi: 10.1002/jmri.26606. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Seed prioritized unwrapping (SPUN) for MR phase imaging.

Author information

1
United Imaging of Healthcare America, Houston, Texas, USA.
2
Department of Radiology, Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, People's Republic of China.
3
Shanghai United Imaging of Healthcare, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Region-growing-based phase unwrapping methods have the potential for lossless phase aliasing removal, but generally suffer from unwrapping error propagation associated with discontinuous phase and/or long calculation times. The tradeoff point between robustness and efficiency of phase unwrapping methods in the region-growing category requires improvement.

PURPOSE:

To demonstrate an accurate, robust, and efficient region-growing phase unwrapping method for MR phase imaging applications.

STUDY TYPE:

Prospective. SUBJECTS, PHANTOM: normal human subjects (10) / brain surgery patients (2) / water phantoms / computer simulation.

FIELD STRENGTH/SEQUENCE:

3 T/gradient echo sequences (2D and 3D).

ASSESSMENT:

A seed prioritized unwrapping (SPUN) method was developed based on single-region growing, prioritizing only a portion (eg, 100 seeds or 1% seeds) of available seed voxels based on continuity quality during each region-growing iteration. Computer simulation, phantom, and in vivo brain and pelvis scans were performed. The error rates, seed percentages, and calculation times were recorded and reported. SPUN unwrapped phase images were visually evaluated and compared with Laplacian unwrapped results.

STATISTICAL TESTS:

Monte Carlo simulation was performed on a 3D dipole phase model with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 1-9 dB, to obtain the mean and standard deviation of calculation error rates and calculation times.

RESULTS:

Simulation revealed a very robust unwrapping performance of SPUN, reaching an error rate of <0.4% even with SNR as low as 1 dB. For all in vivo data, SPUN was able to robustly unwrap the phase images of modest SNR and complex morphology with visually minimal errors and fast calculation speed (eg, <4 min for 368 × 312 × 128 data) when using a proper seed priority number, eg, Nsp = 1 or 10 voxels for 2D and Nsp = 1% for 3D data.

DATA CONCLUSION:

SPUN offers very robust and fast region-growing-based phase unwrapping, and does not require any tissue masking or segmentation, nor poses a limitation over imaging parameters.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

3 Technical Efficacy: Stage 1 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019;50:62-70.

PMID:
30569494
DOI:
10.1002/jmri.26606

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