To evaluate if the use of BLADE sequences might overcome some limitations of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the extracranial head and neck, which is a diagnostically challenging area with a variety of artifacts and a broad spectrum of potential lesions.
Materials and Methods:
After informed consent and Institutional Review Board approval, two different BLADE sequences with (BLADE IR) and without inversion pulse (BLADE) were compared to turbo-spin echo (TSE) with fat saturation for coronal T1-weighted postcontrast imaging of the extracranial head and neck region in 40 individuals of a routine patient collective. Visual evaluation of image sharpness, motion artifacts, vessel pulsation, contrast of anatomic structures, contrast of pathologies to surrounding tissue as well as BLADE-specific artifacts was performed by two experienced, independent readers. Statistical evaluation was done by using the Wilcoxon test.
Both BLADE and BLADE IR were significantly superior to TSE regarding pulsation artifacts and delineation of thoracic structures. TSE provided better results concerning contrast muscle/fat tissue and contrast lymph nodes/fat. More important, it showed significantly better contrast of several lesions, facilitating the detection of patient pathology.
T1-weighted coronal imaging of the extracranial head and neck region is demanding. T1-weighted BLADE sequences still have drawbacks in anatomical contrast and lesion detection but offer possibilities to achieve reasonable image quality in difficult cases with a variety of artifacts. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;37:660—668. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.