Osteodensitometry of human heel bones by MR spin-echo imaging: Comparison with MR gradient-echo imaging and quantitative computed tomography



The aim of the study was to investigate whether quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) fast spin-echo (FSE) imaging with moderate spatial resolution enables osteodensitometry in peripheral yellow bone marrow. Signal intensities in T1-weighted FSE images from yellow bone marrow indicate the amount of adipose tissue per volume. The signal intensity in marrow regions with spongy bone was assessed and compared to signal intensity of pure fatty marrow (100%). Heel bones of 30 patients with suspected osteoporosis were analyzed and the FSE images were compared with results from parallel MR gradient-echo (GE) imaging and quantitative computed tomography (QCT) examinations. High correlation was found between FSE imaging and QCT [r = 0.91 in the dorsal region of interest (ROI); r = 0.86 in ventral ROI]. Linear correlation coefficients between GE imaging and QCT were slightly lower in the dorsal part (r = –0.86) and considerably lower in the ventral part (r = –0.68). Correlation between the two MR techniques amounted to r = –0.72/–0.61 (dorsal/ventral). The high correlation between FSE imaging and bone mineral density (BMD) allows possible clinical applications of FSE imaging for diagnosis of osteoporosis. Further improvements of the accuracy using reference phantoms might be possible. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2001;14:147–155. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.