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Accurate T1 mapping of short T2 tissues using a three‐dimensional ultrashort echo time cones actual flip angle imaging‐variable repetition time (3D UTE‐Cones AFI‐VTR) method

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To develop an accurate T1 measurement method for short T2 tissues using a combination of a 3-dimensional ultrashort echo time cones actual flip angle imaging technique and a variable repetition time technique (3D UTE-Cones AFI-VTR) on a clinical 3T scanner.


First, the longitudinal magnetization mapping function of the excitation pulse was obtained with the 3D UTE-Cones AFI method, which provided information about excitation efficiency and B1 inhomogeneity. Then, the derived mapping function was substituted into the VTR fitting to generate accurate T1 maps. Numerical simulation and phantom studies were carried out to compare the AFI-VTR method with a B1 -uncorrected VTR method, a B1 -uncorrected variable flip angle (VFA) method, and a B1 -corrected VFA method. Finally, the 3D UTE-Cones AFI-VTR method was applied to bovine bone samples (N = 6) and healthy volunteers (N = 3) to quantify the T1 of cortical bone.


Numerical simulation and phantom studies showed that the 3D UTE-Cones AFI-VTR technique provides more accurate measurement of the T1 of short T2 tissues than the B1 -uncorrected VTR and VFA methods or the B1 -corrected VFA method. The proposed 3D UTE-Cones AFI-VTR method showed a mean T1 of 240 ± 25 ms for bovine cortical bone and 218 ± 10 ms for the tibial midshaft of human volunteers, respectively, at 3 T.


The 3D UTE-Cones AFI-VTR method can provide accurate T1 measurements of short T2 tissues such as cortical bone. Magn Reson Med 80:598-608, 2018. © 2018 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

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