IntroductionDiffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI), which is based on Echo Planar Imaging (EPI) protocols, is becoming increasingly important for neurosurgical applications. However, its use in this context is limited in part by significant spatial distortion inherent to EPI.
MethodWe evaluated an efficient algorithm for EPI distortion correction (EPIC) across 814 DWI scans from 250 brain tumor patients and quantified the magnitude of geometric distortion for whole brain and multiple brain regions.
ResultsEvaluation of the algorithm's performance revealed significantly higher mutual information between T1-weighted pre-contrast images and corrected b = 0 images than the uncorrected b = 0 images (p < 0.001). The distortion magnitude across all voxels revealed a median EPI distortion effect of 2.1 mm, ranging from 1.2 mm to 5.9 mm, the 5th and 95th percentile, respectively. Regions adjacent to bone-air interfaces, such as the orbitofrontal cortex, temporal poles, and brain stem, were the regions most severely affected by DWI distortion.
ConclusionUsing EPIC to estimate the degree of distortion in 814 DWI brain tumor images enabled the creation of a topographic atlas of DWI distortion across the brain. The degree of displacement of tumors boundaries in uncorrected images is severe but can be corrected for using EPIC. Our results support the use of distortion correction to ensure accurate and careful application of DWI to neurosurgical practice.