The majority of applications, particularly in the body imaging, require the need to acquire images with and without fat suppression for enhanced visualization of various pathologies. Fat suppression is challenging at higher field strengths, e.g. 3 T, due to increased B0 inhomogeneities.
We are currently developing chemical-shift (or Dixon) based techniques for improved fat suppression, even in the presence of B0 inhomogeneities. Particularly, we are developing enhanced fast/turbo spin echo (FSE/TSE) based techniques using multi-echo acquisition, where the in-phase (IP) and out-of-phase (OP) echoes required for Dixon processing are acquired in the same repetition, without increasing the scan times.
This approach provides perfectly co-registered images with and without fat suppression along with fat-only images in the same acquisition. Our initial target is to improve the conspicuity of nerves in the neck and shoulders (i.e. Brachial Plexus), where the B0 inhomogeneities are significant due to the air/tissue/lung interface.
Maximum intensity projection (MIP) images of the brachial plexus showing enhanced visualization of the nerves from the spinal cord to the shoulders and the upper arms with uniform fat/water separation.