Objectives: The purpose of this work was to improve the clinical versatility of high-speed real-time MRI studies of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dynamics by simultaneous recordings of multiple MRI movies in different sections.
Methods: Real-time MRI at 3 T was realized using highly undersampled radial FLASH acquisitions and image reconstruction by regularized nonlinear inversion (NLINV). Multi-slice real-time MRI of two, three or four slices at 0.75 mm resolution and 6 to 8 mm thickness was accomplished at 50.0 ms, 33.3 ms or 25.5 ms temporal resolution, respectively, yielding simultaneous movies at 2 × 10, 3 × 10 or 4 × 10 frames per second in a frame-interleaved acquisition mode. Real-time MRI movies were evaluated by three blinded raters for visibility of the anterior and posterior border of disc, shape of the disk body and condyle head as well as movement of the disc and condyle (1 = excellent, 5 = no visibility).
Results: Effective delineation of the disk atop the mandibular condyle was achieved by T1-weighted images with opposed-phase water-fat contrast. Compared to 8 mm sections, multi-slice recordings with 6 mm thickness provided sharper delineation of relevant structures as confirmed by inter-rater evaluation. Respective dual-slice and triple-slice recordings of a single TMJ as well as dual-slice recordings of both joints (one slice per TMJ) received the highest visibility ratings of ≤ 2 corresponding to high confidence in diagnostic content.
Conclusions: The improved access to TMJ dynamics by multi-slice real-time MRI will contribute to more effective treatment of temporomandibular disorders.