Use of magnetization transfer for improved contrast on gradient-echo MR images of the cervical spine

D A Finelli, G C Hurst, B A Karaman, J E Simon, J L Duerk, E M Bellon
Radiology 1994, 193 (1): 165-71

PURPOSE: To evaluate whether magnetization transfer (MT) can improve image contrast on gradient-recalled echo (GRE) magnetic resonance (MR) images of the cervical spine.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sagittal and axial two-dimensional conventional GRE and MT GRE images were obtained in 103 patients with degenerative disk disease or intrinsic cord lesions. The contrast-to-noise ratios (C/Ns) for the cervical spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were compared for images obtained at various MT power level and section-select flip angle combinations. Axial three-dimensional GRE images were also obtained with application of MT and C/N evaluated in 10 additional patients.

RESULTS: Tailored two-dimensional MT GRE images, obtained with a moderate MT power level and a section-select flip angle similar to the Ernst angle for CSF, provided an average of 2.2-2.4-fold improvement in spinal cord-CSF C/N than conventional GRE images (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: The MT GRE images demonstrated superior delineation of disk herniations, foraminal stenosis, and intrinsic cord lesions over conventional GRE and T2-weighted spin-echo images in clinical cervical spine examinations.

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