Diagnostic value of water-fat-separated images and CT-like susceptibility-weighted images extracted from a single ultrashort echo time sequence for the evaluation of vertebral fractures and degenerative changes of the spine

Georg C. Feuerriegel, Sophia Kronthaler, Christof Boehm, Martin Renz, Yannik Leonhardt, Florian Gassert, Sarah C. Foreman, Kilian Weiss, Markus Wurm, Thomas Liebig, Marcus R. Makowski, Benedikt J. Schwaiger, Dimitrios C. Karampinos, Alexandra S. Gersing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate the performance of single-echo Dixon water-fat imaging and computed tomography (CT)–like imaging based on a single ultrashort echo time (sUTE) MR sequence for imaging of vertebral fractures as well as degenerative bone changes of the spine in comparison to conventional CT and MR sequences. Methods: Thirty patients with suspected acute vertebral fractures were examined using a 3-T MRI, including an sUTE sequence as well as short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) and T1-weighted sequences. During postprocessing, water-fat separation was performed by solving the smoothness-constrained inverse water-fat problem based on a single-complex UTE image. By removing the unwanted low-frequency phase terms, additional MR-based susceptibility-weighted-like (SW-like) images with CT-like contrast were created. Two radiologists evaluated semi-quantitative and quantitative features of fractures and degenerative changes independently and separately on CT and MR images. Results: In total, all 58 fractures were accurately detected of whom 24 were correctly classified as acute fractures with an edema detected on the water-fat-separated UTE images, using STIR and T1w sequences as standard of reference. For the morphological assessment of fractures and degenerative changes, the overall agreement between SW-like images and CT was substantial to excellent (e.g., Genant: κ 0.90 (95% confidence interval 0.54–1.00); AO/Magerl: κ 0.75 (95% confidence interval 0.43–1.00)). Overall inter-reader agreement for water-fat-separated UTE images and SW-like images was substantial to almost perfect. Conclusion: Detection and assessment of vertebral fractures and degenerative bone changes of the spine were feasible and accurate using water-fat-separated images as well as SW-like images, both derived from the same sUTE-Dixon sequence. Key Points: • The detection of acute vertebral fractures was feasible using water-fat-separated images and CT-like images reconstructed from one sUTE sequence. • Assessment of the vertebral fractures using SW-like images with CT-like contrast was found to be comparable to conventional CT. • sUTE imaging of the spine can help reduce examination times and radiation exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1455
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bone marrow edema
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrashort echo time (UTE) imaging
  • Vertebral fractures

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