Time-Saving 3D MR Imaging Protocols with Millimeter and Submillimeter Isotropic Spatial Resolution for Face and Neck Imaging as Implemented at a Single-Site Major Referral Center

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2024 Jun 7;45(6):737-742. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A8184.


MR imaging has become the routine technique for staging nasopharyngeal carcinoma, evaluating perineural tumor spread, and detecting cartilage invasion in laryngeal carcinoma. However, these protocols traditionally require in the range of 25 to 35 minutes of acquisition time. 3D sequences offer the potential advantage of time savings through the acquisition of 1-mm or submillimeter resolution isotropic data followed by multiplanar reformats that require no further imaging time. We have iteratively optimized vendor product 3D T1-weighted MR imaging sequences for morphologic face and neck imaging, reducing the average acquisition time of our 3T protocols by 9 minutes 57 seconds (40.9%) and of our 1.5T protocols by 9 minutes 5 seconds (37.0%), while simultaneously maintaining or improving spatial resolution. This clinical report describes our experience optimizing and implementing commercially available 3D T1-weighted MR imaging pulse sequence protocols for clinical face and neck MR imaging examinations using illustrative cases. We provide protocol details to allow others to replicate our implementations, and we report challenges we faced along with our solutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Face / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional* / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / diagnostic imaging