Intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) imaging is a method the authors developed to visualize microscopic motions of water. In biologic tissues, these motions include molecular diffusion and microcirculation of blood in the capillary network. IVIM images are quantified by an apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), which integrates the effects of both diffusion and perfusion. The aim of this work was to demonstrate how much perfusion contributes to the ADC and to present a method for obtaining separate images of diffusion and perfusion. Images were obtained at 0.5 T with high-resolution multisection sequences and without the use of contrast material. Results in a phantom made of resin microspheres demonstrated the ability of the method to separately evaluate diffusion and perfusion. The method was then applied in patients with brain and bone tumors and brain ischemia. Clinical results showed significant promise of the method for tissue characterization by perfusion patterns and for functional studies in the evaluation of the microcirculation in physiologic and pathologic conditions, as, for instance, in brain ischemia.

Article History

Published in print: 1988