Purpose: To assess the detectability of the inner ear structures using both 3-dimensional (3D) balanced fast-field echo (bFFE) and 3D driven equilibrium (DRIVE) sequences in conjunction with parallel imaging and to compare the image quality of those sequences.
Materials and methods: Thirty-eight healthy volunteers were examined using a 1.5-T magnetic resonance unit. The 3D bFFE and the 3D DRIVE sequences were compared. The relative contrast between the cranial nerves and the cisternal space was calculated. The detectability of the cranial nerves and the cochlear and semicircular canals was graded on a 3-point scale (1, poor; 2, fair; 3, excellent).
Result: The relative contrast for the cranial nerve in 3D bFFE and 3D DRIVE was 4.31 +/- 1.53 and 5.73 +/- 4.60, respectively. The 2.5 turns of the cochlea, spiral lamina, and all 3 semicircular canals were better visualized using the 3D DRIVE.
Conclusion: The 3D DRIVE is superior to the 3D bFFE in evaluation of the structures of the inner ear.