Background: Ultrashort echo time (UTE) image to directly visualize short T2 tissues requires postprocessing for the suppression of the surrounding long T2 tissues in a clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Weighted subtraction of UTE images with an optimal weighting factor could provide high positive contrast with adequate suppression. Purpose: To demonstrate in-vivo UTE MRI with weighted subtractions of dual echo UTE imaging using a 3 T clinical MRI and to determine the optimal weighting factors through the analyses of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and contrast-tonoise ratios (CNRs). Material and Methods: Forty-seven consecutive knee MR including dual echo 3D UTE sequence (TE of 70 ms and 3.82 ms) were reviewed. Seven patients with normal findings in the knee MR were included in the current study. For variably weighted subtraction images, the initial UTE image was rescaled relative to that of the second echo image with weighting factors from 0.1 to 4.0. Thirty-five pairs of the ROI measurements of the UTE image and second long echo images were repeated after 2 weeks. For quantitative assessment, SNR and CNR were measured from the ROIs on the patellar tendon, cartilage, cortical bone, meniscus, and infrapatellar fat pad. Intra-observer agreement was assessed by using both Cohen's Kappa and Bland-Altman approach. Results: The short T2 tissue could be visualized with adequate suppression on the subtraction images. Considering the CNRs and SNRs, the optimal ranges of the weighting factors could be suggested: 0.3 for the tendon, 0.4 for the cortical bone, and 1.0 for the meniscus. The 35 paired measurements showed excellent agreement with statistical significance (P<0.05). Conclusion: The 3D UTE MRI provides imaging of short T2 tissues which cannot be visualized by conventional MRI. Using weighted subtractions with optimal weighting values, each tissue can be optimally depicted by overcoming the reduced T2 contrast.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging