Intracortical Lesions in Multiple Sclerosis: Improved Detection with 3D Double Inversion-Recovery MR Imaging

PURPOSE: To prospectively compare the depiction of intracortical lesions by using multislab three-dimensional (3D) double inversion-recovery (DIR), multislab 3D fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR), and T2-weighted spin-echo (SE) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in patients with multiple sclerosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Local ethics review board approval and informed consent were obtained. Conventional T2-weighted SE and multislab 3D FLAIR and DIR images were acquired in 10 patients with multiple sclerosis (five women, five men) and 11 age-matched healthy control subjects (seven women, four men). Mean age was 40 years (range, 25–54 years) in patients and 34 years (range, 24–55 years) in control subjects. Lesions were classified according to seven anatomic regions: intracortical, mixed white matter–gray matter, juxtacortical, deep gray matter, periventricular white matter, deep white matter, and infratentorial lesions. The numbers of lesions per category were compared between techniques (Dunnett-corrected analysis of variance). Gain or loss (with 95% confidence intervals [CIs]) of numbers of lesions detected at 3D DIR imaging was calculated in comparison with those detected at T2-weighted SE and 3D FLAIR imaging.

RESULTS: Total number of lesions did not differ between 3D DIR and 3D FLAIR sequences, but the 3D DIR sequence showed a gain of 21% (95% CI: 4%, 41%) in comparison with the T2-weighted SE sequence. Because of high gray matter–white matter contrast, DIR images depicted more intracortical lesions (80 lesions in 10 patients) than both SE (10 lesions) and FLAIR (31 lesions) images; gains with DIR were 538% (95% CI: 191%, 1297%) and 152% (95% CI: 15%, 453%) compared with SE and FLAIR, respectively. Only four intracortical lesions were detected in control subjects. Also, DIR imaging enabled a better definition of mixed white matter–gray matter lesions because of greater contrast between the lesion and its surroundings.

CONCLUSION: MR imaging with 3D DIR enables increased intracortical lesion detection in the multiple sclerosis brain, as well as improved distinction between juxtacortical and white matter–gray matter lesions.

© RSNA, 2005


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Article History

Published in print: July 2005