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SENSE opens doors to new body MRI techniques

Clinical News
MRI NetForum Team Philips Healthcare Philips Global


The limitations of applying techniques such as diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in body MRI vanish by pairing them with SENSE. Researchers are also beginning to harness SENSE's speed for increased temporal resolution in contrast-enhanced examinations of the liver in a single breath-hold.

SENSE helps overcome pancreas DWI challenges

DWI may help track pancreatic function throughout treatment, but acquisition time needs to be very fast. Researchers at HÂpital Erasme (Brussels) are using SENSE to eliminate EPI ghosting in their DWI images.


"DWI in the pancreas is especially difficult because it's near the liver, bowel and stomach - there are many transition zones from one organ to another," says Philips MR Clinical Scientist Jan De Becker, M.Sc. "Because SENSE shortens the measurement, the scan is less influenced by organ motion, resulting in less ghosting. Susceptibility artifacts are also reduced due to the shorter echo train length."

SENSE enables better differentiation of small lesions using DWI

Dr. Watanabe at Kurashiki General Hospital (Kurashiki, Japan) is using DWI with very low diffusion weighting (b-value < 50) in the liver to obtain black vessels, enabling much better visualization of small lesions than has been possible using TSE sequences (bright vessels, bright lesions). The problem with liver DWI, however, has been organ coverage, a challenge SENSE is addressing.


"With multishot EPI, you measure k-space at several temporal moments and then 'glue' them together, but that doesn't account for organ motion in between that might cause ghosting," De Becker explains. "With SENSE, we can cover the complete liver with sufficient resolution because it allows use of a single-shot EPI sequence yielding 20 slices in one breath hold."

More liver arterial phases with SENSE

The wide spectrum of liver lesions and their vascular attributes have always made characterizing liver lesions difficult. Contrast-enhanced imaging may help differentiate between malignant and benign lesions and between different types of malignant tumors based on the speed and pattern of contrast uptake.


"Some investigators are using SENSE's speed to enable partitioning of the arterial phase into multiple scan components in the same 20-second breathhold, while still maintaining sufficient image quality," De Becker observes. "Measuring several arterial phases enables a better characterization of the contrast uptake pattern (upslope, peak and downslope), thereby gaining more information to make a differential diagnosis."


SENSE 3D T1W FFE MIP and 3D post-contrast images. 180 slices of 0.75 mm slice thickness, 0.9 x 0.9 mm in-plane resolution, ProSet 1331 for fat suppression, scan time 4 minutes. With this slice thickness high quality MPRs can be made (right image). A works-in-progress positioning frame was used. Courtesy of Saint Barnabas ACC, Livingston, N.J., USA

This benign lesion does not enhance on diffusion-weighted images.

SENSE improves image quality, speed in breast DWI

"Investigators hope DWI can help characterize breast lesions in the same way they use DWI to characterize brain tumors," says the Philips MR Clinical Scientist. "Initial breast DWI studies have shown that - at higher b-values - malignant lesions tend to have higher signal and lower ADC than benign lesions. Previously, non-SENSE breast DWI has been hampered by patient motion and by the susceptibility artifacts to which rapid techniques such as EPI are prone.


At three dedicated Philips Breast MR research sites, clinicians now routinely conduct breast DWI studies using SENSE", he says. "If we compare their results with the non-Philips breast DWI in the literature, our sites' image quality is far better."


SENSE allows us to achieve higher spatial resolutions without susceptibility artifacts, by the use of a shorter echo train length, whilst also reducing scan time (from 5 minutes to 3 minutes).




M. Nagayama,Y.Watanabe et al.

Black-blood T2-weighted SE-EPI Imaging of the liver.

Proc.Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 10, p.1963 (2002)


H.Yoshioka et al.

Double Arterial Phase Dynamic MRI With Sensitivity Encoding (SENSE) for Hypervascular Hepatocellular Carcinomas.

JMRI 16:259-266 (2002)

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Nov 26, 2004

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