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Accelerated Three-dimensional T2-Weighted Turbo-Spin-Echo Sequences with Inner-Volume Excitation and Iterative Denoising in the Setting of Pelvis MRI at 1.5T: Impact on Image Quality and Lesion Detection

Published:February 07, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.01.003

      Rationale and Objectives

      To investigate image quality and rate of lesion detection in a novel three-dimensional T2-weighted turbo-spin-echo sequence with inner-volume excitation (zoomed imaging) and iterative denoising processing in pelvic MRI at 1.5T. Two-dimensional T2-weighted turbo-spin-echo sequences were used as the clinical reference standard (2D-T2-TSE).

      Materials and Methods

      This is a prospective study of patients with various pelvic pathologies. Each patient underwent standard 2D-T2-TSE in three planes with two-fold acceleration as well as a single three-dimensional T2-TSE in the sagittal plane with four-fold acceleration known as Sampling-Perfection-with-Application-optimized-Contrast-using-different-flip-angle-Evolutions (3D-T2-SPACE). The 3D-T2-SPACE images were reconstructed in three orthogonal planes at a slice thickness of 2 mm (vs. 2D-T2-TSE at 4 mm). Two radiologists conducted a qualitative image analysis on standard 2D-T2-TSE and multiplanar reconstructed 3D-T2-SPACE images. These parameters were compared and inter-reader agreement was computed. Furthermore, each reader documented the observed lesions of various pelvic organs. The rate of lesion detection was compared between readers and sequences. Inter-reader and inter-sequence agreement were computed.

      Results

      Forty patients (25 females) were included. Mean patient age was 58 ± 13 years. 3D-T2-SPACE enabled an approximate 22% reduction of acquisition time and 50% of reconstructed slice thickness. 3D-T2-SPACE showed fewer artifacts than 2D-T2-TSE (p < 0.001). However, 2D-T2-TSE was rated to have significantly higher signal intensity than 3D-T2-SPACE (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between the two sequences regarding all other parameters. Inter-reader agreement regarding image quality parameters was substantial (Kappa = 0.772). For all analyzed pelvic anatomic structures, inter-reader and inter-sequence agreement for lesion detection was excellent (Kappa > 0.80).

      Conclusion

      3D-T2-SPACE with the inner-volume excitation and iterative denoising is clinically feasible at 1.5 T, enabling faster imaging, thinner slices, and significant reduction of artifacts. Despite that signal intensity was inferior in the SPACE images, overall image quality, diagnostic confidence and lesion detection were not compromised. This prospective study sets the stage for further clinical implementation and future investigations tailored to specific indications in pelvis MRI.

      Key Words

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