Purpose: To evaluate the image quality of segmented echo planar MRI with inversion recovery magnetization preparation (seg-IR-EPI) to depict the anatomy and pathologic changes involving the brachial plexus. Materials and Methods: The coronal seg-IR-EPI sequence was performed on 30 healthy volunteers and 20 patients. Postprocessing techniques were used to generate images of brachial plexus and the images acquired were qualitatively evaluated by two experienced radiologists based on grading of the morphological images. Signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) and nerve soft tissue contrast-to-noise-ratios (CNRs) were calculated and the normalized SNR (SNRn) and the normalized CNR (CNRn) were compared with the STIR TSE sequence. Results: Although seg-IR-EPI had more ghosting artifacts than STIR TSE, excellent general image appearance with minor blurring can be achieved with seg-IR-EPI. In all healthy volunteers the means of CNRn were significantly greater for seg-IR-EPI than for STIR-TSE, while the means of SNRn were significantly lower for seg-IR-EPI than for STIR-TSE. Conclusion: In the present study the seg-IR-EPI sequence obtained uniform fat suppression and high-contrast T2-weighted images of brachial plexus. Our data suggest that the seg-IR-EPI sequence may provide high fidelity in evaluating brachial plexus.
- Brachial plexus
- Inversion recovery echo planar imaging