Houchun Harry Hu1, Skorn Ponrartana1, Thomas G. Perkins2, Jonathan M. Chia2, Vicente Gilsanz1, Tishya A. L. Wren3
1Radiology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Philips Healthcare, Cleveland, OH, United States; 3Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States
This pilot work utilizes chemical-shift water-fat MRI to characterize muscle fat infiltration in five pediatric patients with spina bifida. Fat-signal fraction measurements in lower extremity muscles were compared against muscle strength scores from physical assessment. High/low fat-signal fractions were associated with weak/strong muscles. Muscles with intermediate strengths exhibited a wide range of fat-signal fractions. Heterogeneity in fat-signal fraction between different muscles with similar functions was observed. Quantitative chemical-shift water-fat MRI may be able to detect sub-clinical changes in muscles that are not discernible with standard clinical assessment, and provide a more sensitive and objective assessment of muscle health and integrity.