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MRI of the brain stem using fluid attenuated inversion recivery pulse sequences


Heavily T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences with inversion times of 2000–2500 ms and echo times of 130–200 ms were used to image the brain stem of a normal adult and five patients. These sequences produce high signal from many white matter tracts and display high lesion contrast. The corticospinal and parietopontine tracts, lateral and medial lemnisci, superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles, medial longitudinal fasciculi, thalamo-olivary tracts and the cuneate and gracile fasciculi gave high signal and were directly visualised. The oculomotor and trigeminal nerves were demonstrated within the brain stem. Lesions not seen with conventional T2-weighted spin echo sequences were seen with high contrast in patients with infarction, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, shunt obstruction and metastatic tumour. The anatomical detail and high lesion contrast given by the FLAIR pulse sequence appear likely to be of value in diagnosis of disease in the brain stem.

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Correspondence to G. M. Bydder.

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De Coene, B., Hajnal, J.V., Pennock, J.M. et al. MRI of the brain stem using fluid attenuated inversion recivery pulse sequences. Neuroradiology 35, 327–331 (1993).

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Key words

  • Fluid
  • attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) pulse sequences
  • White matter tracts
  • Brain stem disease