Reducing slab boundary artifacts in three-dimensional multislab diffusion MRI using nonlinear inversion for slab profile encoding (NPEN)

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Abstract

Purpose:

To propose a method to reduce the slab boundary artifacts in three-dimensional multislab diffusion MRI.

Methods:

Bloch simulation is used to investigate the effects of multiple factors on slab boundary artifacts, including characterization of residual errors on diffusion quantification. A nonlinear inversion method is proposed to simultaneously estimate the slab profile and the underlying (corrected) image.

Results:

Correction results of numerical phantom and in vivo data demonstrate that the method can effectively remove slab boundary artifacts for diffusion data. Notably, the nonlinear inversion is also successful at short TR, a regimen where previously proposed methods (slab profile encoding and weighted average) retain residual artifacts in both diffusion-weighted images and diffusion metrics (mean diffusion coefficient and fractional anisotropy).

Conclusion:

The nonlinear inversion for removing slab boundary artifacts provides improvements over existing methods, particularly at the short TRs required to maximize SNR efficiency. Magn Reson Med 76:1183–1195, 2016. © 2015 The Authors. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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