New acquisition method promises speedier MR

August 3, 2006

Faster scans and better image quality may result from a technique developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Rather than using the conventional approach, which sweeps horizontally to gather MR data, the UW technique acquires the body’s signals radially.

Faster scans and better image quality may result from a technique developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Rather than using the conventional approach, which sweeps horizontally to gather MR data, the UW technique acquires the body's signals radially.

"We can essentially acquire data during the whole scan," said Walter Bock, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics, who developed the technique. "In a conventional case, a lot of time is spent either prepping or returning to the steady state so that you can do the next acquisition. What we're doing now is a study that you can visualize in any plane in about the same time as people are doing one plane."

Block's technique achieves an advantage, he said, by exploiting the difference in resonant frequencies between fat and water, maximizing each component of the image, so that any aspect can be visualized.

The technique, which has been patented through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, also will make it easier to image other parts of the body, particularly those in which motion is a factor, such as the heart or abdomen.