While holding vast potential, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with single-excitation protocols still faces serious challenges. Limited spatial resolution, susceptibility to magnetic field inhomogeneity, and low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) may be considered the most prominent limitations. It is demonstrated that all of these shortcomings can be effectively mitigated by the transition to parallel imaging technology and high magnetic field strength. Using the sensitivity encoding (SENSE) technique at 3 T, brain DTI was performed in nine healthy volunteers. Despite enhanced field inhomogeneity, parallel acquisition permitted both controlling geometric distortions and enhancing spatial resolution up to 0.8 mm in-plane. Heightened SNR requirements were met in part by high base sensitivity at 3 T. A further significant increase in SNR efficiency was accomplished by SENSE acquisition, exploiting enhanced encoding speed for echo time reduction. Based on the resulting image data, high-resolution tensor mapping is demonstrated.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.