, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 3079-3085
Date: 17 Jul 2007

In vivo MR tractography of thigh muscles using diffusion imaging: initial results

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Abstract

The aims of this preliminary study were (1) to demonstrate the feasibility of providing in vivo 3D architecture of human thigh muscles using tractography on a 1.5T magnet, and (2) to assess the value of tractography images to obtain averaged microstructural parameters, i.e., the fractional anisotropy (FA) and the mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), over the whole thigh. Five healthy volunteers were included in this study. Their right thighs were imaged using diffusion tensor imaging and gradient-echo T2* sequences. Muscular tractography was performed on each muscle. MR tractography provided a good approach of the muscle shape and of the orientation of the muscle fibers. There was no aberration in the color-encoding scheme nor in the luminosity assigned to each fiber. In contrast, tendons were not drawn in any of the muscles studied. FA values ranged from 0.27 to 0.38. Mean ADC values ranged from 0.76 to 0.96 × 10−3 mm2/s. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of providing in vivo 3D architecture of human thigh muscles using tractography on a 1.5T magnet, and of determining muscular microstructural parameters (FA and ADC). Musculoskeletal radiologists should be aware of these new developments that may provide complementary information on muscles to the usual sequences.