A Phantom for Diffusion-Weighted MRI (DW-MRI)

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Abstract

Purpose

To develop tissue-equivalent diffusivity materials and build a spherical diffusion phantom which mimics the conditions typically found in biological tissues. Also, to assess the reproducibility of ADC measurements from a whole-body diffusion protocol.

Materials and Methods

Nickel-doped agarose/sucrose gels were manufactured and used to build a spherical diffusion phantom with tissue-equivalent relaxation and diffusion compartments. The temporal stability of the gels was monitored for a period of 8 weeks and, using the same measurements, the reproducibility of ADC was assessed in a 1.5 Tesla (T) clinical system.

Results

The temporal stability of the nickel-doped agarose/sucrose gels diffusion properties was excellent (average coefficient of variation [CV] for ADC in all phantom compartments = 1.27%). The average CV for ADC measurements, excluding the phantom compartments affected by artifacts, was 0.76% showing that the reproducibility of ADC measurements using an EPI DW-MRI protocol is very good.

Conclusion

Nickel-doped agarose/sucrose gels can be used as reference materials for MRI diffusion measurements and show excellent short-term stability with respect to ADC. A phantom made of these materials can be invaluable in optimizing DW-MRI protocols, developing novel pulse sequences for DW-MRI, or comparing ADC values among field strengths, vendors, and imaging centers. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;38:173–179. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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