Background: Although detection of concordant lesions on MRI significantly improves postsurgical outcomes in focal epilepsy (FE), many conventional MR studies remain negative. The authors evaluated the role of phased array surface coil studies performed at 3 Tesla (3T PA MRI).
Methods: Forty patients with medically intractable focal epilepsies were prospectively imaged with 3T PA-MRI including high matrix TSE T2, fluid attenuated inversion recovery, and magnetization prepared rapid gradient echo. All patients were considered candidates for epilepsy surgery. 3T PA-MRIs were reviewed by a neuroradiologist experienced in epilepsy imaging with access to clinical information. Findings were compared to reports of prior standard 1.5T MRI epilepsy studies performed at tertiary care centers.
Results: Experienced, unblinded review of 3T PA-MRI studies yielded additional diagnostic information in 48% (19/40) compared to routine clinical reads at 1.5T. In 37.5% (15/40), this additional information motivated a change in clinical management. In the subgroup of patients with prior 1.5T MRIs interpreted as normal, 3T PA-MRI resulted in the detection of a new lesion in 65% (15/23). In the subgroup of 15 patients with known lesions, 3T PA-MRI better defined the lesion in 33% (5/15).
Conclusion: Phased array surface coil studies performed at 3 Tesla read by an experienced unblinded neuroradiologist can improve the presurgical evaluation of patients with focal epilepsy when compared to routine clinical 1.5T studies read at tertiary care centers.