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Modern Low-Field MRI of the Musculoskeletal System: Practice Considerations, Opportunities, and Challenges

Khodarahmi, Iman; Keerthivasan, Mahesh B; Brinkmann, Inge M; Grodzki, David; Fritz, Jan
ABSTRACT/UNASSIGNED:Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides essential information for diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. Although most musculoskeletal MRI examinations are performed at 1.5 and 3.0 T, modern low-field MRI systems offer new opportunities for affordable MRI worldwide. In 2021, a 0.55 T modern low-field, whole-body MRI system with an 80-cm-wide bore was introduced for clinical use in the United States and Europe. Compared with current higher-field-strength MRI systems, the 0.55 T MRI system has a lower total ownership cost, including purchase price, installation, and maintenance. Although signal-to-noise ratios scale with field strength, modern signal transmission and receiver chains improve signal yield compared with older low-field magnetic resonance scanner generations. Advanced radiofrequency coils permit short echo spacing and overall compacter echo trains than previously possible. Deep learning-based advanced image reconstruction algorithms provide substantial improvements in perceived signal-to-noise ratios, contrast, and spatial resolution. Musculoskeletal tissue contrast evolutions behave differently at 0.55 T, which requires careful consideration when designing pulse sequences. Similar to other field strengths, parallel imaging and simultaneous multislice acquisition techniques are vital for efficient musculoskeletal MRI acquisitions. Pliable receiver coils with a more cost-effective design offer a path to more affordable surface coils and improve image quality. Whereas fat suppression is inherently more challenging at lower field strengths, chemical shift selective fat suppression is reliable and homogeneous with modern low-field MRI technology. Dixon-based gradient echo pulse sequences provide efficient and reliable multicontrast options, including postcontrast MRI. Metal artifact reduction MRI benefits substantially from the lower field strength, including slice encoding for metal artifact correction for effective metal artifact reduction of high-susceptibility metallic implants. Wide-bore scanner designs offer exciting opportunities for interventional MRI. This review provides an overview of the economical aspects, signal and image quality considerations, technological components and coils, musculoskeletal tissue relaxation times, and image contrast of modern low-field MRI and discusses the mainstream and new applications, challenges, and opportunities of musculoskeletal MRI.
PMID: 36165841
ISSN: 1536-0210
CID: 5334182

Postoperative MR Imaging of Joints: Technical Considerations

Burke, Christopher J; Khodarahmi, Iman; Fritz, Jan
Postoperative MR imaging of joints is now commonly requested, yet artifacts caused by metallic orthopedic implants remain a significant challenge during image interpretation. Effective artifact reduction is essential to identify postsurgical complications, such as prosthesis loosening, infection, adverse local tissue reaction, and periarticular soft tissue injuries. This article reviews basic and advanced metal artifact reduction MR imaging techniques applied to various clinical protocols for successful postoperative MR imaging of small and large joints.
PMID: 36243506
ISSN: 1557-9786
CID: 5359982

A flexible MRI coil based on a cable conductor and applied to knee imaging

Wang, Bili; Siddiq, Syed S; Walczyk, Jerzy; Bruno, Mary; Khodarahmi, Iman; Brinkmann, Inge M; Rehner, Robert; Lakshmanan, Karthik; Fritz, Jan; Brown, Ryan
Flexible radiofrequency coils for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have garnered attention in research and industrial communities because they provide improved accessibility and performance and can accommodate a range of anatomic postures. Most recent flexible coil developments involve customized conductors or substrate materials and/or target applications at 3 T or above. In contrast, we set out to design a flexible coil based on an off-the-shelf conductor that is suitable for operation at 0.55 T (23.55 MHz). Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) degradation can occur in such an environment because the resistance of the coil conductor can be significant with respect to the sample. We found that resonating a commercially available RG-223 coaxial cable shield with a lumped capacitor while the inner conductor remained electrically floating gave rise to a highly effective "cable coil." A 10-cm diameter cable coil was flexible enough to wrap around the knee, an application that can benefit from flexible coils, and had similar conductor loss and SNR as a standard-of-reference rigid copper coil. A two-channel cable coil array also provided good SNR robustness against geometric variability, outperforming a two-channel coaxial coil array by 26 and 16% when the elements were overlapped by 20-40% or gapped by 30-50%, respectively. A 6-channel cable coil array was constructed for 0.55 T knee imaging. Incidental cartilage and bone pathologies were clearly delineated in T1- and T2-weighted turbo spin echo images acquired in 3-4 min with the proposed coil, suggesting that clinical quality knee imaging is feasible in an acceptable examination timeframe. Correcting for T1, the SNR measured with the cable coil was approximately threefold lower than that measured with a 1.5 T state-of-the-art 18-channel coil, which is expected given the threefold difference in main magnetic field strength. This result suggests that the 0.55 T cable coil conductor loss does not deleteriously impact SNR, which might be anticipated at low field.
PMID: 36056131
ISSN: 2045-2322
CID: 5332272

Society of Skeletal Radiology- white paper. Guidelines for the diagnostic management of incidental solitary bone lesions on CT and MRI in adults: bone reporting and data system (Bone-RADS)

Chang, Connie Y; Garner, Hillary W; Ahlawat, Shivani; Amini, Behrang; Bucknor, Matthew D; Flug, Jonathan A; Khodarahmi, Iman; Mulligan, Michael E; Peterson, Jeffrey J; Riley, Geoffrey M; Samim, Mohammad; Lozano-Calderon, Santiago A; Wu, Jim S
The purpose of this article is to present algorithms for the diagnostic management of solitary bone lesions incidentally encountered on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MRI) in adults. Based on review of the current literature and expert opinion, the Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards Committee of the Society of Skeletal Radiology (SSR) proposes a bone reporting and data system (Bone-RADS) for incidentally encountered solitary bone lesions on CT and MRI with four possible diagnostic management recommendations (Bone-RADS1, leave alone; Bone-RADS2, perform different imaging modality; Bone-RADS3, perform follow-up imaging; Bone-RADS4, biopsy and/or oncologic referral). Two algorithms for CT based on lesion density (lucent or sclerotic/mixed) and two for MRI allow the user to arrive at a specific Bone-RADS management recommendation. Representative cases are provided to illustrate the usability of the algorithms.
PMID: 35344076
ISSN: 1432-2161
CID: 5391352

New-Generation Low-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Hip Arthroplasty Implants Using Slice Encoding for Metal Artifact Correction: First In Vitro Experience at 0.55 T and Comparison With 1.5 T

Khodarahmi, Iman; Brinkmann, Inge M; Lin, Dana J; Bruno, Mary; Johnson, Patricia M; Knoll, Florian; Keerthivasan, Mahesh B; Chandarana, Hersh; Fritz, Jan
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Despite significant progress, artifact-free visualization of the bone and soft tissues around hip arthroplasty implants remains an unmet clinical need. New-generation low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems now include slice encoding for metal artifact correction (SEMAC), which may result in smaller metallic artifacts and better image quality than standard-of-care 1.5 T MRI. This study aims to assess the feasibility of SEMAC on a new-generation 0.55 T system, optimize the pulse protocol parameters, and compare the results with those of a standard-of-care 1.5 T MRI. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:Titanium (Ti) and cobalt-chromium total hip arthroplasty implants embedded in a tissue-mimicking American Society for Testing and Materials gel phantom were evaluated using turbo spin echo, view angle tilting (VAT), and combined VAT and SEMAC (VAT + SEMAC) pulse sequences. To refine an MRI protocol at 0.55 T, the type of metal artifact reduction techniques and the effect of various pulse sequence parameters on metal artifacts were assessed through qualitative ranking of the images by 3 expert readers while taking measured spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratios, and acquisition times into consideration. Signal-to-noise ratio efficiency and artifact size of the optimized 0.55 T protocols were compared with the 1.5 T standard and compressed-sensing SEMAC sequences. RESULTS:Overall, the VAT + SEMAC sequence with at least 6 SEMAC encoding steps for Ti and 9 for cobalt-chromium implants was ranked higher than other sequences for metal reduction (P < 0.05). Additional SEMAC encoding partitions did not result in further metal artifact reductions. Permitting minimal residual artifacts, low magnetic susceptibility Ti constructs may be sufficiently imaged with optimized turbo spin echo sequences obviating the need for SEMAC. In cross-platform comparison, 0.55 T acquisitions using the optimized protocols are associated with 45% to 64% smaller artifacts than 1.5 T VAT + SEMAC and VAT + compressed-sensing/SEMAC protocols at the expense of a 17% to 28% reduction in signal-to-noise ratio efficiency. B1-related artifacts are invariably smaller at 0.55 T than 1.5 T; however, artifacts related to B0 distortion, although frequently smaller, may appear as signal pileups at 0.55 T. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that new-generation low-field SEMAC MRI reduces metal artifacts around hip arthroplasty implants to better advantage than current 1.5 T MRI standard of care. While the appearance of B0-related artifacts changes, reduction in B1-related artifacts plays a major role in the overall benefit of 0.55 T.
PMID: 35239614
ISSN: 1536-0210
CID: 5174642

Postoperative Musculoskeletal Imaging and Interventions Following Hip Preservation Surgery, Deformity Correction, and Hip Arthroplasty

Samim, Mohammad; Khodarahmi, Iman; Burke, Christopher; Fritz, Jan
Total hip arthroplasty and hip preservation surgeries have substantially increased over the past few decades. Musculoskeletal imaging and interventions are cornerstones of comprehensive postoperative care and surveillance in patients undergoing established and more recently introduced hip surgeries. Hence the radiologist's role continues to evolve and expand. A strong understanding of hip joint anatomy and biomechanics, surgical procedures, expected normal postoperative imaging appearances, and postoperative complications ensures accurate imaging interpretation, intervention, and optimal patient care. This article presents surgical principles and procedural details pertinent to postoperative imaging evaluation strategies after common hip surgeries, such as radiography, ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. We review and illustrate the expected postoperative imaging appearances and complications following chondrolabral repair, acetabuloplasty, osteochondroplasty, periacetabular osteotomy, realigning and derotational femoral osteotomies, and hip arthroplasty.
PMID: 35654093
ISSN: 1098-898x
CID: 5283002

MR Imaging of the Knee Posterolateral and Posteromedial Corner Injuries

Khodarahmi, Iman; Alizai, Hamza; Alaia, Erin; Gyftopoulos, Soterios
The posteromedial and posterolateral corners of the knee are important areas to consider when assessing the patient with a possible knee injury. An understanding of the anatomy, associated biomechanics, and typical injury patterns in these regions will improve the value that the radiologist interpreting the MRIs brings to this patient population.
PMID: 35512886
ISSN: 1557-9786
CID: 5213892

Common Skeletal Neoplasms and Nonneoplastic Lesions at 18F-FDG PET/CT

Cheung, Hoiwan; Yechoor, Alekhya; Behnia, Fatemeh; Abadi, Alireza Behrad; Khodarahmi, Iman; Soltanolkotabi, Maryam; Shafiei, Mehrzad; Chalian, Majid
Numerous primary and metastatic osseous lesions and incidental osseous findings are encountered at fluorine 18 (18F) fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT. These lesions show varying degrees of FDG uptake. Malignancies are generally more FDG avid than are benign lesions, but many exceptions exist. Although aggressive lesions tend to be more FDG avid than nonaggressive lesions, this concept holds true particularly for lesions of the same histologic subtype. In addition, some benign osseous processes such as Paget disease have variable degrees of FDG avidity on the basis of disease metabolic activity. This creates a diagnostic dilemma for radiologists and clinicians, especially in patients with known malignancies, and can result in unnecessary diagnostic imaging or interventions for incidental osseous lesions. Evaluation of morphologic CT characteristics of osseous lesions at FDG PET/CT can be a valuable adjunct to metabolic analysis to further characterize lesions, enhance diagnostic and staging accuracy, and avoid unnecessary invasive biopsy procedures. The authors review the common primary and metastatic bone lesions at FDG PET/CT, with an emphasis on morphologic CT assessment of lesions to help narrow the differential diagnosis. Imaging manifestations of common incidental nonneoplastic bone lesions at FDG PET/CT are discussed to provide information on differentiation of these lesions from osseous neoplasms. The guidelines of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for common primary osseous malignancies are also summarized. Online supplemental material is available for this article. ©RSNA, 2021.
PMID: 34919467
ISSN: 1527-1323
CID: 5109892

The Value of 3 Tesla Field Strength for Musculoskeletal MRI

Khodarahmi, Iman; Fritz, Jan
ABSTRACT/UNASSIGNED:Musculoskeletal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a careful negotiation between spatial, temporal, and contrast resolution, which builds the foundation for diagnostic performance and value. Many aspects of musculoskeletal MRI can improve the image quality and increase the acquisition speed; however, 3.0-T field strength has the highest impact within the current diagnostic range. In addition to the favorable attributes of 3.0-T field strength translating into high temporal, spatial, and contrast resolution, many 3.0-T MRI systems yield additional gains through high-performance gradients systems and radiofrequency pulse transmission technology, advanced multichannel receiver technology, and high-end surface coils. Compared with 1.5 T, 3.0-T MRI systems yield approximately 2-fold higher signal-to-noise ratios, enabling 4 times faster data acquisition or double the matrix size. Clinically, 3.0-T field strength translates into markedly higher scan efficiency, better image quality, more accurate visualization of small anatomic structures and abnormalities, and the ability to offer high-end applications, such as quantitative MRI and magnetic resonance neurography. Challenges of 3.0-T MRI include higher magnetic susceptibility, chemical shift, dielectric effects, and higher radiofrequency energy deposition, which can be managed successfully. The higher total cost of ownership of 3.0-T MRI systems can be offset by shorter musculoskeletal MRI examinations, higher-quality examinations, and utilization of advanced MRI techniques, which then can achieve higher gains and value than lower field systems. We provide a practice-focused review of the value of 3.0-T field strength for musculoskeletal MRI, practical solutions to challenges, and illustrations of a wide spectrum of gainful clinical applications.
PMID: 34190717
ISSN: 1536-0210
CID: 4926622

3-T MRI of the Ankle Tendons and Ligaments

Pezeshk, Parham; Rehwald, Christine; Khodarahmi, Iman; Del Grande, Filippo; Khoshpouri, Parisa; Chew, Felix; Chalian, Majid
Ankle sprain is the most common injury in athletic populations. Ligament and tendon pathologies of the ankle are common, ranging from traumatic injuries to degeneration leading to chronic pain and acquired foot deformities. MRI is the imaging modality of choice to evaluate tendon and ligament pathology of the ankle, specifically derangements of tendons and ligaments. 3-T MRI offers improved imaging characteristics relative to 1.5-T MRI, allowing for better delineation of anatomic detail and pathology. This article provides a review of the anatomy and common pathologies of the ankle ligaments and tendons using high-resolution 3-T MRI.
PMID: 34509208
ISSN: 1556-228x
CID: 5012122