European Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1541–1550 | Cite as

Intravoxel incoherent motion diffusion-weighted imaging in the liver: comparison of mono-, bi- and tri-exponential modelling at 3.0-T

  • Jean-Pierre Cercueil
  • Jean-Michel Petit
  • Stéphanie Nougaret
  • Philippe Soyer
  • Audrey Fohlen
  • Marie-Ange Pierredon-Foulongne
  • Valentina Schembri
  • Elisabeth Delhom
  • Sabine Schmidt
  • Alban Denys
  • Serge Aho
  • Boris GuiuEmail author



To determine whether a mono-, bi- or tri-exponential model best fits the intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) signal of normal livers.

Materials and methods

The pilot and validation studies were conducted in 38 and 36 patients with normal livers, respectively. The DWI sequence was performed using single-shot echoplanar imaging with 11 (pilot study) and 16 (validation study) b values. In each study, data from all patients were used to model the IVIM signal of normal liver.

Diffusion coefficients (Di ± standard deviations) and their fractions (fi ± standard deviations) were determined from each model. The models were compared using the extra sum-of-squares test and information criteria.


The tri-exponential model provided a better fit than both the bi- and mono-exponential models. The tri-exponential IVIM model determined three diffusion compartments: a slow (D1 = 1.35 ± 0.03 × 10-3 mm2/s; f1 = 72.7 ± 0.9 %), a fast (D2 = 26.50 ± 2.49 × 10-3 mm2/s; f2 = 13.7 ± 0.6 %) and a very fast (D3 = 404.00 ± 43.7 × 10-3 mm2/s; f3 = 13.5 ± 0.8 %) diffusion compartment [results from the validation study]. The very fast compartment contributed to the IVIM signal only for b values ≤15 s/mm2


The tri-exponential model provided the best fit for IVIM signal decay in the liver over the 0-800 s/mm2 range. In IVIM analysis of normal liver, a third very fast (pseudo)diffusion component might be relevant.

Key Points

For normal liver, tri-exponential IVIM model might be superior to bi-exponential

A very fast compartment (D = 404.00 ± 43.7 × 10 -3  mm 2 /s; f = 13.5 ± 0.8 %) is determined from the tri-exponential model

The compartment contributes to the IVIM signal only for b ≤ 15 s/mm 2


Diffusion-weighted imaging IVIM Liver Signal model MRI 



The scientific guarantor of this publication is Boris Guiu. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding. One of the authors has significant statistical expertise. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study. Methodology: prospective, observational, performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Pierre Cercueil
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Michel Petit
    • 1
    • 3
  • Stéphanie Nougaret
    • 4
  • Philippe Soyer
    • 5
  • Audrey Fohlen
    • 6
  • Marie-Ange Pierredon-Foulongne
    • 4
  • Valentina Schembri
    • 4
  • Elisabeth Delhom
    • 4
  • Sabine Schmidt
    • 7
  • Alban Denys
    • 7
  • Serge Aho
    • 8
  • Boris Guiu
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.University of Burgundy, INSERM U866DijonFrance
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyCHU (University Hospital)DijonFrance
  3. 3.Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology, and Metabolic DiseasesCHU (University Hospital)DijonFrance
  4. 4.Department of RadiologySt-Eloi University HospitalMontpellierFrance
  5. 5.Department of Body and Interventional ImagingHôpital 1 Lariboisière, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 10France
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyUniversity HospitalCaenFrance
  7. 7.Department of RadiologyCentre Hospitalier Universitaire VaudoisLausanneSwitzerland
  8. 8.Department of BiostatisticsCHU (University Hospital)DijonFrance

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