Reduced Field of View Diffusion-Weighted Imaging in the Evaluation of Congenital Spine Malformations

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Reduced field of view diffusion-weighted imaging (rFOV DWI) is a more recently described technique in the evaluation of spine pathology. In adults, this technique has been shown to increase clinician confidence in identification of diffusion restricting lesions.


In this study, we evaluate the image quality and diagnostic confidence of the rFOV DWI technique in pediatric spine MRI.


We included patients with MRI of the lumbar spine for suspected congenital abnormalities who had conventional SS-EPI (single shot echo planar imaging) with full field of view (fFOV) and rFOV DWI performed. Images were graded for image quality and observer confidence for detection of lesions with reduced diffusion. Position of the conus and L3 vertebral body measurements were recorded. Comparisons were made between the fFOV and rFOV scores.


Fifty children (30 girls, 20 boys) were included (median 3.6 years). Compared to the fFOV images, the rFOV images scored higher in image quality (P< 0.0001) and for confidence in detecting lesions with reduced diffusion (P< 0.0001). The average spread of identified conus position was smaller for in rFOV compared to fFOV (P= 0.0042). There was no significant difference in the L3 vertebral body measurements between the two methods. In rFOV, the anterior aspects of the vertebral bodies were excluded in a few studies due to narrow FOV.


rFOV DWI of the lumbar spine in the pediatric population has qualitatively improved image quality and observer confidence for lesion detection when compared to conventional fFOV SS-EPI DWI.

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