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Efficacy of Contrast Medium Use for Neuroimaging at 3.0 T: Utility of IR-FSE Compared to Other T1-Weighted Pulse Sequences

Fischbach, Frank MD; Bruhn, Harald MD, PhD; Pech, Maciej MD; Neumann, Fabian MD; Ricke, Jens MD; Felix, Roland MD, PhD; Hoffmann, Karl Titus MD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: July-August 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 4 - p 499-505
doi: 10.1097/01.rct.0000166636.85918.3d
Neuroimaging: Original Article

As inversion-recovery (IR) technique improves T1 contrast at high field strength, signal enhancement by T1-shortening contrast media may be affected. To clarify the different enhancement properties at 3.0 T, the authors compared T1-weighted sequences. Twelve contrast-enhancing lesions were investigated by spin-echo (SE), inversion recovery fast spin-echo (IR-FSE), two-dimensional gradient-echo (2D GE), and magnetization-prepared three-dimensional gradient-echo (3D GE) sequences and evaluated by comparing signal-intensity enhancements within the lesions. In addition, signal-to-noise-ratios (SNR) and contrast-to-noise-ratios (CNR) were measured. On average, signal enhancement of the lesions amounted to 60% for SE, 57% for IR-FSE, 32% for 2D GE, and 35% for 3D GE images. CNR of gray matter versus white matter was significantly higher for IR SE and GE imaging than for genuine SE and 2D GE acquisitions (Wilcoxon test), while 2D GE imaging alone had an excellent SNR. As IR-FSE images provide an excellent CNR for gray and white matter in the brain and contrast enhancement performs almost similarly well compared with SE imaging, this technique appears to be well suited for T1-weighted neuroimaging without and with contrast enhancement at 3.0 T. However, the inherent blurring of the IR-FSE can lead to poor performance for very small lesions.

From the Department of Radiology Charité, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Humboldt-University Medical School, Berlin, Germany.

Received for publication October 6, 2004; accepted April 6, 2005.

Reprints: Frank Fischbach, Department of Radiology Charité, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Humboldt-University Medical School, Augustenburgerplatz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.