Intravoxel incoherent motion in body diffusion-weighted MRI: reality and challenges

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 Jun;196(6):1351-61. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.5515.


Objective: Diffusion-weighted MRI is increasingly applied in the body. It has been recognized for some time, on the basis of scientific experiments and studies in the brain, that the calculation of apparent diffusion coefficient by simple monoexponential relationship between MRI signal and b value does not fully account for tissue behavior. However, appreciation of this fact in body diffusion MRI is relatively new, because technologic advancements have only recently enabled high-quality body diffusion-weighted images to be acquired using multiple b values. There is now increasing interest in the radiologic community to apply more sophisticated analytic approaches, such as those based on the principles of intravoxel incoherent motion, which allows quantitative parameters that reflect tissue microcapillary perfusion and tissue diffusivity to be derived.

Conclusion: In this review, we discuss the principles of intravoxel incoherent motion as applied to body diffusion-weighted MRI. The evidence for the technique in measuring tissue perfusion is presented and the emerging clinical utility surveyed. The requisites and challenges of quantitative evaluation beyond simple monoexponential relationships are highlighted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Microcirculation
  • Motion*
  • Perfusion
  • Whole Body Imaging