Susceptibility-weighted imaging of the brain: current utility and potential applications

J Neuroimaging. 2011 Oct;21(4):e189-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6569.2010.00516.x. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


Background and purpose: Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging (SWI) is a relatively new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequence relying on susceptibility differences between adjacent tissues to produce an image. It is extremely sensitive for detection of blood products (hemosiderin, ferritin), deoxygenated blood, calcium, iron, and small vein depiction. Little information is available in the literature to describe common findings seen using this imaging sequence. This article is an comprehensive review of appearances across the spectrum of brain pathology encountered in routine clinical practice.

Materials and methods: A retrospective review of 400 MRI Brain examinations was performed by one fellowship trained Neuroradiologist with 5 years experience (SB) and one general radiologist (RR). Agreement was by consensus observing normal and pathological imaging features seen in SWI sequences.

Results: Results are presented as a comprehensive pictorial review highlighting the key imaging findings observed and new directions using SWI.

Conclusion: SWI is an extremely useful adjunct to current MRI sequences of the brain and is advocated for inclusion into routine Neuroimaging protocols.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies