Emine Ulku Saritas1, Greg Zaharchuk2, Ajit Shankaranarayanan3, Murat Aksoy2, Roland Bammer2, Nancy J. Fischbein2, Maxwell Boakye4, Dwight G. Nishimura1
1Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 2Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 3Global Applied Science Laboratory, GE Healthcare, Menlo Park, CA, United States; 4Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
There is much interest in extending diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) research to the spinal cord, whose connections are responsible for motor and sensory functions of the body. However, DTI of the spinal cord is limited by the need for high spatial-resolution, as well as the difficulties associated with susceptibility differences, field inhomogeneities (especially at 3T), and motion of the cord. A reduced field-of-view (FOV) method using a 2D echo-planar RF excitation has recently been shown to overcome these limitations and improve spinal cord diffusion-weighted imaging. This study addresses the application of this method to acquire high-resolution low-distortion DTI (including both fractional anisotropy (FA) maps and fiber tractography) of the spinal cord at 3T.