The emergence of high-resolution rapid imaging methods has enabled magnetic resonance (MR) imagers to noninvasively image the fine internal structure of cervical arterial walls. In this article, a comprehensive guide to performing high-resolution MR imaging of cervical arteries is provided, including the choice of coils, sequences, and imaging parameters, as well as tips for optimal image quality. Explanations and illustrations are given of using high-resolution MR imaging to quantify plaque volume, determine atherosclerotic plaque burden, depict plaque composition, and ultimately identify unstable plaque before it leads to a clinical event. Finally, the role of high-resolution MR imaging in the diagnosis of cervical dissection and inflammatory disease of the arterial wall is emphasized.
(c) RSNA, 2009.