Fast spin-echo and fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery versus conventional spin-echo sequences for MR quantification of multiple sclerosis lesions

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1997 Apr;18(4):699-704.


Purpose: To compare fast spin-echo (FSE) and fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences with conventional spin-echo (CSE) MR imaging in the quantification of the number and volume of multiple sclerosis lesions.

Methods: In 30 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, we calculated the total number and volume of lesions detected with each of the three sequences using a semiautomated program.

Results: On CSE sequences, we calculated a total of 2,583 lesions with a global volume of 836.3 cm3. With FSE sequences, we observed a 16% relative reduction in the number of lesions detected and a 25% relative reduction in global volume as compared with CSE. With fast FLAIR sequences, we detected a significantly lower number and volume of infratentorial lesions, whereas at the cortical/subcortical level the lesions were both more numerous and bulkier than on CSE sequences. Finally, we observed a higher lesion/white matter contrast, a significant reduction in time required for the quantification of lesion load, and a very low interobserver variability in favor of fast FLAIR sequences.

Conclusion: Despite its limitations in the detection of infratentorial lesions, the fast FLAIR sequence in conjunction with a semiautomated quantification program provides a reliable means to evaluate the total lesion burden in patients with MS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dura Mater / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • Recurrence
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Reproducibility of Results