Increased Speed and Image Quality for Pelvic Single-Shot Fast Spin-Echo Imaging With Variable Refocusing Flip Angles and Full-Fourier Acquisition

Radiology. 2017 Feb;282(2):561-568. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2016151574. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Abstract

Purpose To assess image quality and speed improvements for single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) with variable refocusing flip angles and full-Fourier acquisition (vrfSSFSE) pelvic imaging via a prospective trial performed in the context of uterine leiomyoma evaluation. Materials and Methods Institutional review board approval and informed consent were obtained. vrfSSFSE and conventional SSFSE sagittal and coronal oblique acquisitions were performed in 54 consecutive female patients referred for 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) evaluation of known or suspected uterine leiomyomas. Two radiologists who were blinded to the image acquisition technique semiquantitatively scored images on a scale from -2 to 2 for noise, image contrast, sharpness, artifacts, and perceived ability to evaluate uterine, ovarian, and musculoskeletal structures. The null hypothesis of no significant difference between pulse sequences was assessed with a Wilcoxon signed rank test by using a Holm-Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Results Because of reductions in specific absorption rate, vrfSSFSE imaging demonstrated significantly increased speed (more than twofold, P < .0001), with mean repetition times compared with conventional SSFSE imaging decreasing from 1358 to 613 msec for sagittal acquisitions and from 1494 to 621 msec for coronal oblique acquisitions. Almost all assessed image quality and perceived diagnostic capability parameters were significantly improved with vrfSSFSE imaging. These improvements included noise, sharpness, and ability to evaluate the junctional zone, myometrium, and musculoskeletal structures for both sagittal acquisitions (mean values of 0.56, 0.63, 0.42, 0.56, and 0.80, respectively; all P values < .0001) and coronal oblique acquisitions (mean values of 0.81, 1.09, 0.65, 0.93, and 1.12, respectively; all P values < .0001). For evaluation of artifacts, there was an insufficient number of cases with differences to allow statistical testing. Conclusion Compared with conventional SSFSE acquisition, vrfSSFSE acquisition increases 3-T imaging speed via reduced specific absorption rate and leads to significant improvements in perceived image quality and perceived diagnostic capability when evaluating pelvic structures. © RSNA, 2016 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Leiomyoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvis / diagnostic imaging
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*