Fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery SSFP imaging

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PurposeTo describe and evaluate a fast, fluid-suppressed 2D multislice steady-state free precession (SSFP) neuroimaging sequence.Materials and MethodsWe developed a fast fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery SSFP sequence for use in neuroimaging. The inversion time (TI) was optimized to yield good cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) suppression while conserving white matter (WM)/lesion contrast across a broad range of flip angles. Multiple SSFP acquisitions were combined using the sum-of-squares (SOS) method to maximize SNR efficiency while minimizing SSFP banding artifacts. We compared our fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) SSFP sequence with FLAIR fast spin-echo (FSE) in both normal subjects and a volunteer with multiple sclerosis. SNR measurements were performed to ascertain the SNR efficiency of each sequence.ResultsOur FLAIR SSFP sequence demonstrated excellent CSF suppression and good gray matter (GM)/WM contrast. Coverage of the entire brain (5-mm slices, 24-cm FOV, 256 × 192 matrix) was achieved with FLAIR SSFP in less than half the scan time of a corresponding FLAIR FSE sequence with similar SNR, yielding improvements of more than 50% in SNR efficiency. Axial scans of a volunteer with multiple sclerosis show clearly visible plaques and very good visualization of brain parenchyma.ConclusionWe have demonstrated the feasibility of a very fast fluid-suppressed neuroimaging technique using SSFP.

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