• channel combination;
  • parallel imaging;
  • dynamic imaging;
  • MRI;
  • virtual coil;
  • fast reconstruction


In MRI, imaging using receiving coil arrays with a large number of elements is an area of growing interest. With increasing channel numbers for parallel acquisition, longer reconstruction times have become a significant concern. Channel reduction techniques have been proposed to reduce the processing time of channel-by-channel reconstruction algorithms. In this article, two schemes are combined to enable faster and more accurate reconstruction than existing channel reduction techniques. One scheme use two stages of channel reduction instead of one. The other scheme is to incorporate all acquired data into the final reconstruction. The combination of these two schemes is called flexible virtual coil. Applications of flexible virtual coil for partially parallel imaging, motion compensation, and compressed sensing are presented as specific examples. Theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method has a major impact in reducing computation cost in reconstruction with high-channel count coil elements. Magn Reson Med, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.