Improved subthalamic nucleus depiction with quantitative susceptibility mapping

Radiology. 2013 Oct;269(1):216-23. doi: 10.1148/radiol.13121991. Epub 2013 May 14.


Purpose: To assess quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) in the depiction of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) by using 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Materials and methods: This study was HIPAA compliant and institutional review board approved. Ten healthy subjects (five men, five women; mean age, 24 years ± 3 [standard deviation]; age range, 21-33 years) and eight patients with Parkinson disease (five men, three women; mean age, 57 years ± 14; age range, 25-69 years) who were referred by neurologists for preoperative navigation MR imaging prior to deep brain stimulator placement were included in this study. T2-weighted (T2w), T2*-weighted (T2*w), R2* mapping (R2*), phase, susceptibility-weighted (SW), and QSM images were reconstructed for STN depiction. Qualitative visualization scores of STN and internal globus pallidus (GPi) were recorded by two neuroradiologists on all images. Contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) of the STN and GPi were also measured. Measurement differences were assessed by using the Wilcoxon rank sum test and the signed rank test.

Results: Qualitative scores were significantly higher on QSM images than on T2w, T2*w, R2*, phase, or SW images (P < .05) for STN and GPi visualization. Median CNR was 6.4 and 10.7 times higher on QSM images than on T2w images for differentiation of STN from the zona incerta and substantia nigra, respectively, and was 22.7 and 9.1 times higher on QSM images than on T2w images for differentiation of GPi from the internal capsule and external globus pallidus, respectively. CNR differences between QSM images and all other images were significant (P < .01).

Conclusion: QSM at 3-T MR imaging performs significantly better than current standard-of-care sequences in the depiction of the STN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / pathology*
  • Young Adult