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Characterization of Cross-Vendor, Cross-Field Strength MR Image Intensity Variations

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E Paulson

E Paulson*, D Prah , Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI


WE-G-18C-5 Wednesday 4:30PM - 6:00PM Room: 18C

Purpose: Variations in MR image intensity and image intensity non-uniformity (IINU) can challenge the accuracy of intensity-based image segmentation and registration algorithms commonly applied in radiotherapy. The goal of this work was to characterize MR image intensity variations across scanner vendors and field strengths commonly used in radiotherapy.

Methods: ACR-MRI phantom images were acquired at 1.5T and 3.0T on GE (450w and 750, 23.1), Siemens (Espree and Verio, VB17B), and Philips (Ingenia, 4.1.3) scanners using commercial spin-echo sequences with matched parameters (TE/TR: 20/500 ms, rBW: 62.5 kHz, TH/skip: 5/5mm). Two radiofrequency (RF) coil combinations were used for each scanner: body coil alone, and combined body and phased-array head coils. Vendor-specific B1- corrections (PURE/Pre-Scan Normalize/CLEAR) were applied in all head coil cases. Images were transferred offline, corrected for IINU using the MNI N3 algorithm, and normalized. Coefficients of variation (CV=σ/μ) and peak image uniformity (PIU = 1-(Smax-Smin)/(Smax+Smin)) estimates were calculated for one homogeneous phantom slice. Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon matched-pairs tests compared mean MR signal intensities and differences between original and N3 image CV and PIU.

Results: Wide variations in both MR image intensity and IINU were observed across scanner vendors, field strengths, and RF coil configurations. Applying the MNI N3 correction for IINU resulted in significant improvements in both CV and PIU (p=0.0115, p=0.0235). However, wide variations in overall image intensity persisted, requiring image normalization to improve consistency across vendors, field strengths, and RF coils. These results indicate that B1- correction routines alone may be insufficient in compensating for IINU and image scaling, warranting additional corrections prior to use of MR images in radiotherapy.

Conclusions: MR image intensities and IINU vary as a function of scanner vendor, field strength, and RF coil configuration. A two-step strategy consisting of MNI N3 correction followed by normalization was required to improve MR image consistency.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Funding provided by Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin.

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