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Image Intensity Non-Uniformities Between MRI Simulation and Diagnostic MRI

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E Paulson

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


TH-A-BRF-11 Thursday 7:30AM - 9:30AM Room: Ballroom F

Purpose: MRI simulation for MRI-based radiotherapy demands that patients be setup in treatment position, which frequently involves use of alternative radiofrequency (RF) coil configurations to accommodate immobilized patients. However, alternative RF coil geometries may exacerbate image intensity non-uniformities (IINU) beyond those observed in diagnostic MRI, which may challenge image segmentation and registration accuracy as well as confound studies assessing radiotherapy response when MR simulation images are used as baselines for evaluation. The goal of this work was to determine whether differences in IINU exist between MR simulation and diagnostic MR images.

Methods: ACR-MRI phantom images were acquired at 3T using a spin-echo sequence (TE/TR:20/500ms, rBW:62.5kHz, TH/skip:5/5mm). MR simulation images were obtained by wrapping two flexible phased-array RF coils around the phantom. Diagnostic MR images were obtained by placing the phantom into a commercial phased-array head coil. Pre-scan normalization was enabled in both cases. Images were transferred offline and corrected for IINU using the MNI N3 algorithm. Coefficients of variation (CV=σ/μ) were calculated for each slice. Wilcoxon matched-pairs and Mann-Whitney tests compared CV values between original and N3 images and between MR simulation and diagnostic MR images.

Results: Significant differences in CV were detected between original and N3 images in both MRI simulation and diagnostic MRI groups (p=0.010, p=0.010). In addition, significant differences in CV were detected between original MR simulation and original and N3 diagnostic MR images (p=0.0256, p=0.0016). However, no significant differences in CV were detected between N3 MR simulation images and original or N3 diagnostic MR images, demonstrating the importance of correcting MR simulation images beyond pre-scan normalization prior to use in radiotherapy.

Conclusions: Alternative RF coil configurations used in MRI simulation can result in significant IINU differences compared to diagnostic MR images. The MNI N3 algorithm reduced MR simulation IINU to levels observed in diagnostic MR images.

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

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