Whole-body MR imaging is being increasingly used in children to evaluate the extent of various oncologic and non-oncologic entities. The lack of exposure to ionizing radiation, excellent soft-tissue contrast (even without the use of contrast agents), and functional imaging capabilities make it especially suitable for screening and surveillance in the pediatric population. Technical developments such as moving table platforms, multi-channel/multi-element surface coils, and parallel imaging allow imaging of the entire body with multiple sequences in a reasonable 30- to 40-min time frame, which has facilitated its acceptance in routine clinical practice. The initial investigations in whole-body MR imaging were primarily focused on oncologic applications such as tumor screening and staging. The exquisite sensitivity of fluid-sensitive MR sequences to many different types of pathology has led to new applications of whole-body MR imaging in evaluation of multifocal rheumatologic conditions. Availability of blood pool contrast agents has allowed whole-body MR angiographic imaging of vascular malformations, vasculitides and vasculopathies. Whole-body MRI is being applied for delineating the extent and distribution of systemic and multifocal diseases, establishing diagnoses, assessing treatment response, and surveillance imaging. This article reviews the technique and clinical applications of whole-body MR imaging in children.
- Magnetic resonance imaging