Functional MR imaging of the female pelvis



Recent developments in MR techniques have magnified the roles and potential of MRI in the female pelvis. This article reviews the techniques and clinical applications of functional MRI (fMRI) of the female pelvis, including cine MRI, diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI), and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI. Cine MRI is a useful tool for evaluating uterine contractility, including sustained contraction and peristalsis, in a variety of conditions and gynecologic disorders, and for evaluating pelvic-floor weakness. DWI can demonstrate abnormal signals in pathologic foci based on differences in molecular diffusion. It also enables the quantitative evaluation of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), which may be useful for distinguishing malignant from benign tissues and monitoring therapeutic outcome. DCE-MRI has the potential to improve tumor detection and local staging, and can also provide quantitative information about perfusion of the tumor, which may be useful for both monitoring therapeutic effects and predicting therapeutic outcome. Understanding the roles played by functional MR techniques in the female pelvic region is beneficial not only for determining clinical applications, but also for developing further investigations with MRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2007;25:1101–1112. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.