T2 mapping of the intervertebral disc (IVD) can depict quantitative changes reflecting biochemical change due to loss of glycosaminoglycan content. Conventional T2 mapping is usually performed using a 2-dimensional multi-echo-spin echo sequence (2D-MESE) with long acquisition times that are generally not compatible with clinical routine. This study investigates the applicability of GRAPPATINI, a T2 mapping sequence combining undersampling, model-based reconstruction, and parallel imaging, to offer clinically feasible acquisition times in T2 mapping of the lumbar IVD.
Materials and Methods
Fifty-eight individuals (26 female; mean age, 23.3 ± 8.1 years) were prospectively studied at 3 T. GRAPPATINI was conducted with the same parameters as the 2D-MESE while shortening the acquisition time from 13:18 to 2:27 minutes. The setup was also validated in a phantom experiment using a 6.48-hour-long single echo-spin echo sequence as reference. The IVDs were manually segmented on 4 central slices.
The median nucleus pulposus showed a strong Pearson correlation coefficient between T2GRAPPATINI and T2MESE (rp = 0.919; P < 0.001). There was also a significant correlation for the ventral (rp = 0.241; P < 0.001) and posterior (rp = 0.418; P < 0.001) annular regions.
In the single spin-echo phantom experiment, the most accurate T2 estimation was achieved using T2GRAPPATINI with a median absolute deviation of 15.3 milliseconds as compared with T2MESE with 26.5 milliseconds.
GRAPPATINI facilitates precise T2 mapping at 3 T in accordance with clinical standards and reference methods using the same parameters while shortening acquisition times from 13:18 to 2:27 minutes with the same parameters.