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Zero Echo Time Imaging Technique Provides Superior Visualization of Bone Features

Zero echo time MRI may be used in lieu of computed tomography for some shoulder assessments.

By
Janelle Weaver, Contributor
Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Magnetic resonance imaging of rigid tissue and solid material can be a big challenge, while computed tomography, which is more suitable for visualizing and evaluating the dense outer layer of bone, exposes patients to radiation. The key to overcoming these problems could be a method called zero echo time magnetic resonance imaging. A study published Nov. 8 in Radiology shows that zero echo time imaging provides enhanced bone contrast and may avoid the need for computed tomography and its associated radiation.

In the study, 34 patients underwent standard-of-care magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, followed by zero echo time imaging. The findings demonstrated strong agreement between zero echo time imaging and computed tomography for clinically relevant shoulder measurements. In 21 cases, zero echo time imaging of bone features exceeded standard-of-care magnetic resonance imaging.

The results confirm that zero echo time magnetic resonance imaging provides accurate imaging of bone morphology, with computed tomography-like contrast that is not available with standard magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, the bone contrast afforded by zero echo time imaging facilitates more intuitive interpretation of bone images by surgeons and clinicians. According to the authors, the findings suggest that zero echo time imaging may be used clinically in lieu of computed tomography for some shoulder assessments.

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