• ultra-high-field MRI;
  • trabecular bone microstructure;
  • 7 Tesla 3 Tesla, pQCT, bSSSE, bSSFP



To investigate the feasibility of 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize and quantify trabecular bone structure in vivo by comparison with 3T MRI and in vivo three-dimensional (3D) high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT).

Materials and Methods

The distal tibiae of 10 healthy volunteers were imaged. Therefore, fully balanced steady state free precession (bSSFP) and spin-echo (bSSSE) pulse sequences were implemented and optimized for 7T. Structural bone parameters, such as apparent bone-volume over total-volume fraction (app.BV/TV), apparent trabecular plate separation (app.TbSp), apparent trabecular plate thickness (app.TbTh), and apparent trabecular plate number (app.TbN), were derived.


All structural trabecular bone parameters correlated well (r > 0.6) between 7T and 3T, and between 7T and HR-pQCT (r > 0.69), with the exception of app.TbTh, which correlated modestly (r = 0.41) between field strengths and very low with HR-pQCT (r < 0.16). Regarding absolute values, app.TbN varied only 4% between field strengths, and only 0.6% between 7T and HR-pQCT. App.TbSp correlated best between 7T and HR-pQCT (r = 0.89). Using bSSSE, significant smaller trabecular thickness and significant higher trabecular number were found compared to bSSFP.


We concluded that imaging and quantification of the trabecular bone architecture at 7T is feasible and preferably done using bSSSE. There exists great potential for ultra-high-field (UHF) MRI applied to trabecular bone measurements. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2008;27:854–859. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.