Ultra-high-field MRI of the musculoskeletal system at 7.0T

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High-field (3T) and ultra-high-field (UHF, 7T and above) systems are increasingly being used to explore potential musculoskeletal applications because they provide a high intrinsic signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), potentially higher resolution (spatial and temporal), and improved contrast. However, imaging at 7T and above presents certain challenges, such as homogeneous radiofrequency (RF) coil design, increased chemical shift artifacts, susceptibility artifacts, RF energy deposition, and changes in relaxation times compared to more typical clinical scanners (1.5 and 3T). Despite these issues, MRI at 7T likely will provide some excellent opportunities for high-resolution morphologic imaging and forays into functional imaging of musculoskeletal systems. In this review we address some of these issues and also demonstrate the feasibility of acquiring high-resolution in vivo images of the musculoskeletal system in healthy human volunteers at 7.0T.

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