Fat suppression in MR imaging: techniques and pitfalls

Radiographics. Mar-Apr 1999;19(2):373-82. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.19.2.g99mr03373.

Abstract

Fat suppression is commonly used in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to suppress the signal from adipose tissue or detect adipose tissue. Fat suppression can be achieved with three methods: fat saturation, inversion-recovery imaging, and opposed-phase imaging. Selection of a fat suppression technique should depend on the purpose of the fat suppression (contrast enhancement vs tissue characterization) and the amount of fat in the tissue being studied. Fat saturation is recommended for suppression of signal from large amounts of fat and reliable acquisition of contrast material-enhanced images. The main drawbacks of this technique are sensitivity to magnetic field nonuniformity, misregistration artifacts, and unreliability when used with low-field-strength magnets. Inversion-recovery imaging allows homogeneous and global fat suppression and can be used with low-field-strength magnets. However, this technique is not specific for fat, and the signal intensity of tissue with a long T1 and tissue with a short T1 may be ambiguous. Opposed-phase imaging is a fast and readily available technique. This method is recommended for demonstration of lesions that contain small amounts of fat. The main drawback of opposed-phase imaging is unreliability in the detection of small tumors embedded in fatty tissue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*

Substances

  • Contrast Media