MR imaging of knee cartilage with FEMR
- Cite this article as:
- Vasnawala, S.S., Pauly, J.M., Nishimura, D.G. et al. Skeletal Radiol (2002) 31: 574. doi:10.1007/s00256-002-0562-4
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Objective. Fluctuating equilibrium magnetic resonance (FEMR) is a rapid three-dimensional (3D) imaging sequence with high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). FEMR may be useful for detecting cartilage defects in the knee. At 1.5 T, FEMR uses a TR with odd multiples of 2.2 ms for fat/water separation. With a TR of 6.6 ms, high-resolution 3D imaging of cartilage is possible.
Design and patients. The knees of 10 volunteers and two patients were imaged on a GE Signa 1.5 T scanner using an extremity coil. Scans were preceded by a shimming sequence optimizing linear terms. Subjects were imaged with FEMR, proton-density fast spin-echo (PD-FSE), T2-weighted fast spin-echo (T2-FSE), and 3D fat-suppressed spoiled-gradient-recalled echo (3D-SPGR).
Results. SNR and contrast-to-noise efficiency measurements for cartilage using FEMR were superior to those using PD-FSE, T2-FSE, and 3D-FS-SPGR. FSE images showed bright synovial fluid with limited cartilage detail. 3D-SPGR had comparable resolution to FEMR but suboptimal cartilage/fluid contrast and longer scan times (8 min versus 2 min). Cartilage surface detail, outlined by bright synovial fluid, was best seen on the FEMR images.
Discussion. FEMR obtains high-resolution 3D images of the entire knee in 2 min with excellent cartilage/fluid contrast. FEMR is sensitive to field inhomogeneity and requires shimming. Surface defects are outlined by bright synovial fluid, and cartilage has higher signal-to-noise efficiency compared with PD-FSE, T2-FSE, and 3D-SPGR techniques.