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The long repetition time and inversion time with inversion recovery preparation ultrashort echo time (UTE) often causes prohibitively long scan times. We present an optimized method for long T2 signal suppression in which several k-space spokes are acquired after each inversion preparation.Using Bloch equations the sequence parameters such as TI and flip angle were optimized to suppress the long T2 water and fat signals and to maximize short T2 contrast. Volunteer imaging was performed on a healthy male volunteer. Inversion recovery preparation was performed using a Silver-Hoult adiabatic inversion pulse together with a three-dimensional (3D) UTE (3D Cones) acquisition.The theoretical signal curves generally agreed with the experimentally measured region of interest curves. The multispoke inversion recovery method showed good muscle and fatty bone marrow suppression, and highlighted short T2 signals such as these from the femoral and tibial cortex.Inversion recovery 3D UTE imaging with multiple spoke acquisitions can be used to effectively suppress long T2 signals and highlight short T2 signals within clinical scan times. Theoretical modeling can be used to determine sequence parameters to optimize long T2 signal suppression and maximize short T2 signals. Experimental results on a volunteer confirmed the theoretical predictions. Magn Reson Med 76:577–582, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.