Manual Segmentation of MS Cortical Lesions Using MRI: A Comparison of 3 MRI Reading Protocols

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2016 Sep;37(9):1623-8. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4799. Epub 2016 May 19.


Background and purpose: Double inversion recovery has been suggested as the MR imaging contrast of choice for segmenting cortical lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis. In this study, we sought to determine the utility of double inversion recovery for cortical lesion identification by comparing 3 MR imaging reading protocols that combine different MR imaging contrasts.

Materials and methods: Twenty-five patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 3 with secondary-progressive MS were imaged with 3T MR imaging by using double inversion recovery, dual fast spin-echo proton-density/T2-weighted, 3D FLAIR, and 3D T1-weighted imaging sequences. Lesions affecting the cortex were manually segmented by using the following 3 MR imaging reading protocols: Protocol 1 (P1) used all available MR imaging contrasts; protocol 2 (P2) used all the available contrasts except for double inversion recovery; and protocol 3(P3) used only double inversion recovery.

Results: Six hundred forty-three cortical lesions were identified with P1 (mean = 22.96); 633, with P2 (mean = 22.6); and 280, with P3 (mean = 10). The counts obtained by using P1 and P2 were not significantly different (P = .93). The counts obtained by using P3 were significantly smaller than those obtained by using either P1 (P < .001) or P2 (P < .001). The intraclass correlation coefficients were P1 versus P2 = 0.989, P1 versus P3 = 0.615, and P2 versus P3 = 0.588.

Conclusions: MR imaging cortical lesion segmentation can be performed by using 3D T1-weighted and 3D FLAIR images acquired with a 1-mm isotropic voxel size, supported by conventional T2-weighted and proton-density images with 3-mm-thick sections. Inclusion of double inversion recovery in this multimodal reading protocol did not significantly improve the cortical lesion identification rate. A multimodal approach is superior to using double inversion recovery alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology

Grant support