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Advanced imaging and innovative software enhance magnetic resonance abdominal imaging

Many patients will at some point need to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study done of the body. These scans help to evaluate and monitor abnormalities in the chest, abdomen and pelvis.1 A MRI of the body may be done if a patient is experiencing pain or other symptoms involving the organs in the torso or if the physician suspects or has diagnosed a specific disease. However, motion artifacts related to respiratory motion may provide one of the biggest challenges to obtaining the desired images.

What is an MRI of the body?

MRI is often used as a non-invasive way to obtain an image of the organs and tissue structures in the patient's body.1 It provides excellent detail of areas of the body that may be obscured by the bone in other imaging tests and may also show tumors and lesions. Because of this, MRI may be used to evaluate various organs and lymph nodes. The organs that can be imaged using body MRI include the liver, pancreas, kidneys, pelvic organs and even the heart

Advanced imaging of the liver

The liver is vital for digesting food and getting rid of toxic substances in the body.2 When the liver fails, it can be life-threatening. Tests to monitor liver function include blood tests, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and MRI. MRI can also be used to assess liver disease including cirrhosis and other abnormalities.1 A recent advanced technique may enable imaging of the liver with a higher sensitivity than before.

This technique builds on the criticality that scans need to have an increase in sensitivity while being fast. In one case, this technique was used for a patient with abdominal pain, which demonstrated an enhancement during the initial early phase.3  This allowed for more sensitivity to the lesion in comparison to standard techniques.3

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Innovative software

The abdomen, as many people already know, can have a variety of different problems. This area of the body is one of the most vital ones in the human body and, at times, can be one of the most troublesome. To obtain adequate abdominal images with MRI, patients often have to be scanned using breath-holding techniques to reduce the motion artifacts caused by respiratory motion and vascular pulsation.4 Because the data from the scan may be crucial, the breath-holds can sometimes be for long periods of time. However, motion-correction software has eased the need for breath-holds, allowing for free-breathing exams.

One of these motion-correction software programs uses an automatic tracker to synchronize with a patient's breathing.4 This software can also allow for real-time threshold adjustment during acquisition, reducing the number of failed scans. It may also reduce the time that the patient has to be in the scanner, since there is less chance that the scan needs to be repeated.4 Free-breathing scans may help radiology departments scan patients who cannot hold their breath for long periods of time due to their age or condition.

New techniques and software programs are making it easier than ever for patients to have the necessary chest, abdomen, and pelvic MRI scans. The increased sensitivity and temporal resolution compared to standard DCE MRI allows the scan to pick up on things it may have missed in a standard scan. The motion-correction software programs may help patients who cannot adequately hold their breath during exams and may also reduce the time spent in the scanner. Together, these techniques may help to enable radiology departments to complete their necessary scans.

For more information on advanced imaging of the liver, please read SIGNA Pulse "Liver Imaging with DISCO."

For more information on innovative motion-correction software, please read SIGNA Pulse "Free-breathing abdominal imaging with Auto Navigator."

References

1. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Body." RadiologyInfo.org. 18 June 2018. Web. 4 April 2019. <https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=bodymr>.

2. Mayo Clinic Staff. "Liver disease." MayoClinic.org. 13 March 2018. Web. 4 April 2019. <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-problems/symptoms-causes/syc-20374502>.

3. Mary Beth Mussat. "Liver Imaging with DISCO." SIGNA Pulse. Autumn 2016. Web. 2 April 2019. <http://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/autumn_2016/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=60#pg60>.

4. Felix Harden. "Free-breathing abdominal imaging with Auto Navigator." SIGNA Pulse. Autumn 2018. Web. 2 April 2019. <http://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/autumn_2018/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=1&folio=57#pg57>.