Fat-Suppression Techniques for 3-T MR Imaging of the Musculoskeletal System

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1148/rg.341135130

The options for fat suppression at 3-T MR imaging with respect to their physics basis, pulse-sequence design, clinical strengths and limitations, and vendor-specific implementations and nomenclature are discussed.

Fat suppression is an important technique in musculoskeletal imaging to improve the visibility of bone-marrow lesions; evaluate fat in soft-tissue masses; optimize the contrast-to-noise ratio in magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography; better define lesions after administration of contrast material; and avoid chemical shift artifacts, primarily at 3-T MR imaging. High-field-strength (eg, 3-T) MR imaging has specific technical characteristics compared with lower-field-strength MR imaging that influence the use and outcome of various fat-suppression techniques. The most commonly used fat-suppression techniques for musculoskeletal 3-T MR imaging include chemical shift (spectral) selective (CHESS) fat saturation, inversion recovery pulse sequences (eg, short inversion time inversion recovery [STIR]), hybrid pulse sequences with spectral and inversion-recovery (eg, spectral adiabatic inversion recovery and spectral attenuated inversion recovery [SPAIR]), spatial-spectral pulse sequences (ie, water excitation), and the Dixon techniques. Understanding the different fat-suppression options allows radiologists to adopt the most appropriate technique for their clinical practice.

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Article History

Received: June 13 2013
Revision requested: July 13 2013
Revision received: Aug 20 2013
Accepted: Aug 29 2013
Published online: Jan 2014
Published in print: Jan 2014