V Taviani, S Nagala, AN Priest, MA McLean, P Jani, MJ Graves
Br J Radiol
OBJECTIVE: Single-shot diffusion-weighted (DW) echo planar imaging (EPI), which is commonly used for imaging the thyroid, is characterised by severe blurring and distortion. The objectives of this work were: 1, to show that a reduced-field of view (r-FOV) DW EPI technique can improve image quality; and 2, to investigate the effect of different reconstruction strategies on the resulting apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs). METHODS: We implemented a single-shot, r-FOV DW EPI technique with a two-dimensional radiofrequency excitation pulse for DW imaging of the thyroid at 3T. Images were reconstructed using root sum of squares (SOS) and an optimal-B1 reconstruction (OBR). Phantom and in vivo experiments were performed to compare r-FOV and conventional full-FOV DW EPI with root SOS and OBR. RESULTS: r-FOV with OBR substantially improved image quality at 3T. In phantoms, r-FOV gave more accurate ADCs than full-FOV. In vivo r-FOV always gave lower ADC values with respect to the full-FOV technique irrespective of the reconstruction used and whether only two or multiple b-values were used to compute the ADCs. CONCLUSION: r-FOV DW EPI can reduce image blurring and distortion at the expense of a low signal-to-noise ratio. OBR is a promising reconstruction technique for accurate ADC measurements in lower signal-to-noise ratio regimes, although further studies are needed to characterise its performance. ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: DW imaging of the thyroid at 3T could potentially benefit from r-FOV acquisition strategies, such as the r-FOV DW EPI technique proposed in this paper.