A new MR imaging sequence, T2-weighted BLADE, used to image the female pelvis improves image quality and helps radiologists make a more accurate diagnosis, according to a study performed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.
A total of 26 patients were imaged using both fast spin echo MR and sagittal T2-weighted BLADE imaging. "The traditional type of image sequence, T2 fast spin echo, is sensitive to motion related both to the patient's breathing and movement of the bowel, which can introduce artifacts which degrade the quality of the images," said Barton F. Lane, MD, lead author of the study. "We found that the new imaging sequence, BLADE, did a better job of depicting the anatomy of the uterus, ovaries and uterine tumors than did the traditional T2 fast spin echo sequence. It also significantly reduced respiratory artifacts. Radiologists were given a score sheet to grade motion artifact and anatomic detail on a 1-5 scale, with higher numbers representing less artifact or better image quality. For respiratory motion, the average score for BLADE versus T2 fast spin echo was 4.4 versus 3.0; for depiction of the ovaries, 3.5 versus 3.1; and for detection of fibroids, 3.9 versus 3.6," he said.
"Women are referred for MRI of the pelvis for a number of reasons. It is important for the evaluation of uterine leiomyomas (fibroids) and ovarian and uterine cancers. Because it does not use radiation, it can be used in pregnant patients to evaluate causes of pelvic pain, such as appendicitis. Any anatomic abnormalities of the uterus and ovaries, which can be secondary to congenital defects, prior surgery, infection or injury are also best identified with MRI," said Dr. Lane.
"The benefit of using the BLADE technique is that the image quality is superior, meaning that the radiologist will potentially be able to make a more accurate diagnosis for the patient. Also, because it reduces the problems with motion degrading the image quality, it can shorten the time of the MRI scan as sequences will not have to be repeated," he said.
"This study provides objective evidence that this new technology is beneficial," said Dr. Lane.