The purposes of this article are to discuss the technical considerations for performing quantitative diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) mapping, examine the role of DWI in whole-body MRI, and review how DWI with ADC mapping can serve as an adjunct to information gleaned from conventional MRI in the radiologic evaluation of musculoskeletal lesions. The primary role of whole-body DWI is in tumor detection; localized DWI is helpful in differentiating malignant bone and soft-tissue lesions. After treatment, an increase in tumor ADC values correlates with response to cytotoxic therapy. The use of DWI in the evaluation of musculoskeletal lesions requires knowledge of potential diagnostic pitfalls that stem from technical challenges and confounding biochemical factors that influence ADC maps but are unrelated to lesion cellularity.
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