Purpose: To determine the effective time window for MR imaging of tumors with blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage after injection of Gd-containing contrast media.
Material and methods: Eleven patients with 15 brain lesions (metastasis, glioma, abscess) were studied with a T1-weighted spin-echo sequence repeated over periods of up to 43 min after contrast injection. A quotient was calculated between the signals in the lesion and in the gray matter, and plotted against time.
Results: All lesions reached 70% of the maximum RATIO within 3.5 min. After 25 min 12 out of 15 lesions showed persistent enhancement within 15% of the maximal RATIO.
Conclusion: The peak enhancement of BBB damage occurs around 3.5 min after injection. The effect does not change during the next 25 min. Scanning should not be started until 2-5 min after injection of the contrast medium, and there is no advantage in waiting longer as no major increase (or decline) of contrast can be expected.