BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: TSE-based T2-weighted imaging of the spine has long scan times. This work proposes a fast imaging protocol using variable refocusing flip angles, optimized for blurring and specific absorption rate. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A variable refocusing flip angle echo-train was optimized for the spine to improve the point spread function and minimize the specific absorption rate, yielding images with improved spatial resolution and SNR compared with the constant flip angle sequence. Data were acquired from 51 patients (35 lumbar, 16 whole-spine) using conventional TSE and the proposed sequence, with a single-shot variant for whole-spine. Noninferiority analysis was performed to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed technique. RESULTS: The proposed multishot sequence resulted in a 2 shorter scan time with a 1.5 lower specific absorption rate. The variable flip angle sequence was noninferior to the conventional TSE (P .025) for all image-quality and clinical criteria except signal-to-noise ratio for the lumbar spine protocol. However, mean image scores for the TSE-variable refocusing flip angle were 4.3 for all criteria, and concordance analysis showed high agreement (90%) with the TSE, indicating clinical equivalence. The single-shot sequence resulted in 4 shorter whole-spine scans, and image scores were 4.4 for all criteria, attesting to its clinical utility. CONCLUSIONS: We present a fast T2-weighted spine protocol using variable refocusing flip angles, including a single-shot variant. The sequences have better point spread function behavior than their constant flip angle counterparts and, being faster, should be less sensitive to patient motion, often seen in the longer TSE scans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology