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Keywords:

  • MRI;
  • neck;
  • BLADE;
  • artifacts;
  • PROPELLER

Abstract

Purpose:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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.