Diffusion-weighted imaging of the entire spinal cord

B. J. Wilm, U. Gamper, A. Henning, K. P. Pruessmann, S. S. Kollias, P. Boesiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In spite of their diagnostic potential, the poor quality of available diffusion-weighted spinal cord images often restricts clinical application to cervical regions, and improved spatial resolution is highly desirable. To address these needs, a novel technique based on the combination of two recently presented reduced field-of-view approaches is proposed, enabling high-resolution acquisition over the entire spinal cord. Field-of-view reduction is achieved by the application of non-coplanar excitation and refocusing pulses combined with outer volume suppression for removal of unwanted transition zones. The non-coplanar excitation is performed such that a gap-less volume is acquired in a dedicated interleaved slice order within two repetition times. The resulting inner volume selectivity was evaluated in vitro. In vivo diffusion tensor imaging data on the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal cord were acquired in transverse orientation in each of four healthy subjects. An in-plane resolution of 0.7 × 0.7 mm2 was achieved without notable aliasing, motion or susceptibility artifacts. The measured mean WSD fractional anisotropy was 0.69 ± 0.11 in the thoracic spinal cord and 0.75 ± 0.07 and 0.63 ± 0.08 in cervical and lumbar white matter, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-181
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion MRI
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Reduced field of view
  • Spinal cord
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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