SEMAC: Slice encoding for metal artifact correction in MRI

Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5488, USA.
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.57). 07/2009; 62(1):66-76. DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21967
Source: PubMed


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) near metallic implants remains an unmet need because of severe artifacts, which mainly stem from large metal-induced field inhomogeneities. This work addresses MRI near metallic implants with an innovative imaging technique called "Slice Encoding for Metal Artifact Correction" (SEMAC). The SEMAC technique corrects metal artifacts via robust encoding of each excited slice against metal-induced field inhomogeneities. The robust slice encoding is achieved by extending a view-angle-tilting (VAT) spin-echo sequence with additional z-phase encoding. Although the VAT compensation gradient suppresses most in-plane distortions, the z-phase encoding fully resolves distorted excitation profiles that cause through-plane distortions. By positioning all spins in a region-of-interest to their actual spatial locations, the through-plane distortions can be corrected by summing up the resolved spins in each voxel. The SEMAC technique does not require additional hardware and can be deployed to the large installed base of whole-body MRI systems. The efficacy of the SEMAC technique in eliminating metal-induced distortions with feasible scan times is validated in phantom and in vivo spine and knee studies.

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    • "An increasing trend in the frequency of spinal fusion operations is evident [1] [2], and thus imaging of prosthesis-related complications is of increasing importance. SEMAC-coded MR sequence without fat saturation has been introduced and showed clinical usefulness [4] [6] [9]. Fluid sensitive MR imaging plays an important role in postoperative evaluation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Purpose Fluid-sensitive MR imaging in postoperative evaluation is important, however, metallic artifacts is inevitable. The purpose is to investigate the feasibility of fat-saturated slice encoding for metal artifact correction (SEMAC)-corrected T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) at 3 T in patients with spinal prostheses. Methods Following institutional review board approval, 27 SEMAC-encoded spinal MR between September 2012 and October 2013 in patients with spinal metallic prostheses were analyzed. The MR images were scanned on a 3 T MR system including SEMAC-corrected and uncorrected fast spin echo (FSE) T2-weighted MR images with fat-saturation. Two musculoskeletal radiologists compared the image sets and qualitatively analyzed the images using a five-point scale in terms of artifact reduction around the prosthesis, visualization of the prosthesis and pedicle, and intervertebral neural foramina. Quantitative assessments were performed by calculating of the ratio of signal intensity from the fixated vertebra and that from upper level vertebra. For statistical analyses, paired t-test was used. Results Fat-saturated SEMAC-corrected T2-weighted MR images enabled significantly improved metallic artifact reduction (P < 0.05). Quantitative evaluation of the signal intensity ratio of screw-fixated vertebra and upper level vertebra showed a significantly lower ratio on fat-saturated SEMAC images (P < 0.05), however, the high signal intensity of signal pile-up could be not completely corrected. Conclusion SEMAC correction in fat-suppressed T2-weighted MR images can overcome the signal loss of metallic artifacts and provide improved delineation of the pedicle screw and peri-prosthetic region. Signal pile-up, however, could not be corrected completely, therefore readers should be cautious in the evaluation of marrow around the prosthesis.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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    • "The robust encoding is achieved by extending a view angle tilting spin echo sequence with additional z-phase encoding[5]. Several studies have demonstrated that SEMAC effectively eliminated metal artefacts4567. However, a higher z-phase encoding resolution requires more z-phase encoding steps to maintain the same z-phase encoding the field of view (FOV), which leads to a longer scan time[5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To compare the effects of metal artefacts and acquisition time among slice encoding for metal artefact correction (SEMAC), SEMAC with dual-source parallel radiofrequency (SEMAC-DSPRF) transmission and fast spin echo (FSE) images using 3.0-T MRI. Methods: The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was calculated in a phantom study using a pedicle screw. A total of 16 patients who underwent spinal surgery using pedicle screws were included in the clinical study. T1 weighted FSE, SEMAC and SEMAC-DSPRF images were obtained. Four imaging findings (visibility of the dural sac, neural foramens, bone-implant interface and overall artefacts) were evaluated by using five-point scales independently by two observers. The mean scan time was recorded. Results: The mean SNR was 71.2, 25.7 and 28.4 for FSE, SEMAC and SEMAC-DSPRF images, respectively. FSE images were ranked lower than SEMAC and SEMAC-DSPRF images, and ranking of SEMAC and SEMAC-DSPRF images did not differ statistically for all four imaging findings. The mean scan time was 9 min 51 s and 6 min 31 s for SEMAC and SEMAC-DSPRF images, respectively. Conclusion: SEMAC can reduce metallic artefacts and improve the visualisation of anatomical structures around metal implants. An additional DSPRF technique can reduce the acquisition time of SEMAC images without the loss of SNR and image quality. Advances in knowledge: This study demonstrates that the use of the DSPRF transmission technique can reduce the acquisition time of SEMAC images without loss of image quality in patients with metal implants.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · The British journal of radiology
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    • "Reducing metal artifacts has been discussed substantially in MRI field for a long time and several sequences have been developed to address this issue [17-20]. However, those techniques remain mostly in research studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background For cervical cancer patients treated with MR-guided high dose rate brachytherapy, the accuracy of radiation delivery depends on accurate localization of both tumors and the applicator, e.g. tandem and ovoid. Standard T2-weighted (T2W) MRI has good tumor-tissue contrast. However, it suffers from poor uterus-tandem contrast, which makes the tandem delineation very challenging. In this study, we evaluated the possibility of using proton density weighted (PDW) MRI to improve the definition of titanium tandems. Methods Both T2W and PDW MRI images were obtained from each cervical cancer patient. Imaging parameters were kept the same between the T2W and PDW sequences for each patient except the echo time (90 ms for T2W and 5.5 ms for PDW) and the slice thickness (0.5 cm for T2W and 0.25 cm for PDW). Uterus-tandem contrast was calculated by the equation C = (Su-St)/Su, where Su and St represented the average signal in the uterus and the tandem, respectively. The diameter of the tandem was measured 1.5 cm away from the tip of the tandem. The tandem was segmented by the histogram thresholding technique. Results PDW MRI could significantly improve the uterus-tandem contrast compared to T2W MRI (0.42±0.24 for T2W MRI, 0.77±0.14 for PDW MRI, p=0.0002). The average difference between the measured and physical diameters of the tandem was reduced from 0.20±0.15 cm by using T2W MRI to 0.10±0.11 cm by using PDW MRI (p=0.0003). The tandem segmented from the PDW image looked more uniform and complete compared to that from the T2W image. Conclusions Compared to the standard T2W MRI, PDW MRI has better uterus-tandem contrast. The information provided by PDW MRI is complementary to those provided by T2W MRI. Therefore, we recommend adding PDW MRI to the simulation protocol to assist tandem delineation process for cervical cancer patients.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Radiation Oncology
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