Background: Q-space analysis is a new metric that uses multiple, high b-value, diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) data. This technique shows promising results as a tool to provide information complementary to that of other imaging techniques used on biological tissue in vivo.
Purpose: To investigate the use of a mean displacement (MDP) map of high b-value, q-space imaging (QSI) to characterize spinal and spinal cord lesions in vivo.
Material and methods: Eight patients with spine or spinal cord disorders (two neurinomas, one myeloma, three cases of syringohydromyelia, and two cases of cervical spondylosis) were included. The MR imaging protocol consisted of conventional MR sequences, conventional diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI; b = 1000), and high b-value QSI with a maximum q value of 836.9 cm(-1). Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps of conventional DWI and MDP maps of QSI data were obtained and region-of-interest analyses for the lesions were performed.
Results: MDP values of normal spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and tumor parenchyma were 6.57 ± 0.52, 17.6 ± 2.75, and 8.49 ± 2.09, respectively (µm, mean ± standard deviation). In general, MDP maps were not well correlated with the corresponding ADC maps at the pathologic lesions. Spondylotic lesions tended to have higher MDP values than normal spinal cord, whereas syringohydromyelia produced MDP values slightly lower than those of CSF.
Conclusion: The heterogeneous MDP values were probably due to differences in tissues and pathologic structures. This technique has potential to provide additional clinical information to that obtained with conventional MR imaging.