32-channel RF coil optimized for brain and cervical spinal cord at 3 T

Magn Reson Med. 2011 Oct;66(4):1198-208. doi: 10.1002/mrm.22906. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Diffusion and functional magnetic resonance imaging of the spinal cord remain challenging due to the small cross-sectional size of the cord and susceptibility-related distortions. Although partially addressable through parallel imaging, few highly parallel array coils have been implemented for the cervical cord. Here, we developed a 32-channel coil that fully covers the brain and c-spine and characterized its performance in comparison with a commercially available head/neck/spine array. Image and temporal signal-to-noise ratio were, respectively, increased by 2× and 1.8× in the cervical cord. Averaged g-factors at 4× acceleration were lowered by 22% in the brain and by 39% in the spinal cord, enabling 1-mm isotropic R = 4 multi-echo magnetization prepared gradient echo of the full brain and c-spine in 3:20 min. Diffusion imaging of the cord at 0.6 × 0.6 × 5 mm(3) resolution and tractography of the full brain and c-spine at 1.7-mm isotropic resolution were feasible without noticeable distortion. Improvements of this nature potentially enhance numerous basic and clinical research studies focused on spinal and supraspinal regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Patient Safety
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radio Waves
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis*