Purpose: To investigate whether image quality can be improved using liquid perfluorocarbon pads (Sat Pad) and clarify the optimal fat-suppression method among chemical shift selective (CHESS), water excitation (WEX), and short TI inversion recovery (STIR) methods in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of the head and neck using 3-T magnetic resonance imaging. Correlations between results of visual inspection and quantitative analysis were also examined.
Material and methods: This study was approved by our Institutional Review Board and informed consent was waived. DWI was performed on 25 subjects with/without Sat Pad and using three fat-suppression methods (6 patterns). Image quality was evaluated visually (4-point scales and lesion-depiction capability) and by quantitative analysis (signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR)). Two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to detect significant differences in scores of visual evaluation, SNR, and CNR.
Results: Mean visual evaluation scores were significantly higher with Sat Pad using STIR than without Sat Pad for all fat-suppression methods (P<0.05). DWI with Sat Pad using STIR tended to be useful for depicting lesions. DWI using STIR showed reduced W-SNR (W: whole area of depicted structure) and CNR (between semispinalis capitis muscle and subcutaneous fat) due to fewer artifacts and uniform fat suppression.
Conclusion: Combining Sat Pad with STIR provides good image quality for visual inspections. When numerous artifacts are present and fat suppression is insufficient, higher SNR and CNR do not always provide good diagnostic image quality.
Keywords: 3-T MRI; Diffusion-weighted imaging; Fat suppression; Head and neck; Liquid perfluorocarbon pads.
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