Feasibility of three-dimensional MRI of proximal femur microarchitecture at 3 tesla using 26 receive elements without and with parallel imaging

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High-resolution imaging of deeper anatomy such as the hip is challenging due to low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), necessitating long scan times. Multi-element coils can increase SNR and reduce scan time through parallel imaging (PI). We assessed the feasibility of using a 26-element receive coil setup to perform 3 Tesla (T) MRI of proximal femur microarchitecture without and with PI.

Materials and Methods:

This study had institutional review board approval. We scanned 13 subjects on a 3T scanner using 26 receive-elements and a three-dimensional fast low-angle shot (FLASH) sequence without and with PI (acceleration factors [AF] 2, 3, 4). We assessed SNR, depiction of individual trabeculae, PI performance (1/g-factor), and image quality with PI (1 = nonvisualization to 5 = excellent).


SNR maps demonstrate higher SNR for the 26-element setup compared with a 12-element setup for hip MRI. Without PI, individual proximal femur trabeculae were well-depicted, including microarchitectural deterioration in osteoporotic subjects. With PI, 1/g values for the 26-element/12-element receive-setup were 0.71/0.45, 0.56/0.25, and 0.44/0.08 at AF2, AF3, and AF4, respectively. Image quality was: AF1, excellent (4.8 ± 0.4); AF2, good (4.2 ± 1.0); AF3, average (3.3 ± 1.0); AF4, nonvisualization (1.4 ± 0.9).


A 26-element receive-setup permits 3T MRI of proximal femur microarchitecture with good image quality up to PI AF2. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:229–238. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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