Independent slab-phase modulation allows three-dimensional imaging of multiple volumes without encoding the space between volumes, thus reducing scan time. Parallel imaging further accelerates data acquisition by exploiting coil sensitivity differences between volumes. This work compared bilateral breast image quality from self-calibrated parallel imaging reconstruction methods such as modified sensitivity encoding, generalized autocalibrating partially parallel acquisitions and autocalibrated reconstruction for Cartesian sampling (ARC) for data with and without slab-phase modulation. A study showed an improvement of image quality by incorporating slab-phase modulation. Geometry factors measured from phantom images were more homogenous and lower on average when slab-phase modulation was used for both mSENSE and GRAPPA reconstructions. The resulting improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was validated for in vivo images as well using ARC instead of GRAPPA, illustrating average SNR efficiency increases in mSENSE by 5% and ARC by 8% based on region of interest analysis. Furthermore, aliasing artifacts from mSENSE reconstruction were reduced when slab-phase modulation was used. Overall, slab-phase modulation with parallel imaging improved image quality and efficiency for 3D bilateral breast imaging.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.