Fast magnetic resonance imaging of the knee using a parallel acquisition technique (mSENSE): a prospective performance evaluation

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The performance of a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging strategy that uses multiple receiver coil elements and integrated parallel imaging techniques (iPAT) in traumatic and degenerative disorders of the knee and to compare this technique with a standard MR imaging protocol was evaluated. Ninety patients with suspected internal derangements of the knee joint prospectively underwent MR imaging at 1.5 T. For signal detection, a 6-channel array coil was used. All patients were investigated with a standard imaging protocol consisting of different turbo spin-echo sequences proton density (PD), T2-weighted turbo spin echo (TSE) with and without fat suppression) in three imaging planes. All sequences were repeated with an integrated parallel acquisition technique (iPAT) using the modified sensitivity encoding (mSENSE) algorithm with an acceleration factor of 2. Two radiologists independently evaluated and scored all images with regard to overall image quality, artefacts and pathologic findings. Agreement of the parallel ratings between readers and imaging techniques, respectively, was evaluated by means of pairwise kappa coefficients that were stratified for the area of evaluation. Agreement between the parallel readers for both the iPAT imaging and the conventional technique, respectively, as well as between imaging techniques was found encouraging with inter-observer kappa values ranging between 0.78 and 0.98 for both imaging techniques, and the inter-method kappa values ranging between 0.88 and 1.00 for both clinical readers. All pathological findings (e.g. occult fractures, meniscal and cruciate ligament tears, torn and interpositioned Hoffa's cleft, cartilage damage) were detected by both techniques with comparable performance. The use of iPAT lead to a 48% reduction of acquisition time compared with standard technique. Parallel imaging using mSENSE proved to be an efficient and economic tool for fast musculoskeletal MR imaging of the knee joint with comparable diagnostic performance to conventional MR imaging.

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