Purpose: To evaluate fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) technique for imaging brain abnormalities.
Materials and methods: A fast FLAIR sequence was developed that provided 36 5-mm contiguous sections in 5 minutes 8 seconds. Resulting images were compared with dual-echo T2-weighted spin-echo images of 41 consecutive patients with brain abnormalities.
Results: Contrast and contrast-to-noise ratios (C/Ns) (for contrast between the lesion and background and between the lesion and cerebrospinal fluid) for fast FLAIR exceeded the corresponding values for T2-weighted spin-echo images for all but the second-echo lesion-to-background C/N. Fast FLAIR provided equivalent or greater overall lesion conspicuity and enabled greater lesion detection in 98% and 100%, respectively, of the evaluations. Fast FLAIR images more often had image artifact, but this did not interfere with image interpretation in a significantly (P < or = .05) greater number of evaluations.
Conclusion: Fast FLAIR provides images that are superior to proton-density- and T2-weighted images for many image quality criteria.