Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) has been mostly acquired using single-shot echo-planar imaging (ss EPI) to minimize motion induced artifacts. The spatial resolution, however, is inherently limited in ss EPI especially for abdominal imaging, even with the advances in parallel imaging. A novel method of reduced Field of View ss EPI (rFOV ss EPI) has achieved high resolution DWI in human carotid artery, spinal cord with reduced blurring and higher spatial resolution than conventional ss EPI, but it has not been used to pancreas imaging. In the work, comparisons between the full FOV ss-DW EPI and rFOV ss-DW EPI in image qualities and ADC values of pancreatic tumors and normal pancreatic tissues were performed to demonstrate the feasibility of pancreatic high resolution rFOV DWI. There were no significant differences in the mean ADC values between full FOV DWI and rFOV DWI for the 17 subjects using b=600s/mm(2) (P=0.962). However, subjective scores of image quality was significantly higher at rFOV ss DWI (P=0.008 and 0.000 for b-value=0s/mm(2) and 600s/mm(2) respectively). The spatial resolution of DWI for pancreas was increased by a factor of over 2.0 (from almost 3.0mm/pixel to 1.25mm/pixel) using rFOV ss EPI technique. Reduced FOV ss EPI can provide good DW images and is promising to benefit applications for pancreatic diseases.
Keywords: Apparent diffusion coefficient; Diffusion weighted imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Pancreas; Reduced field of view.