Use of magnetization transfer for improved contrast on gradient-echo MR images of the cervical spine

Daniel A. Finelli, Gregory C. Hurst, Boris A. Karaman, Judy E. Simon, Jeffrey L. Duerk, Errol M. Bellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To evaluate whether magnetization transfer (MT) can improve image contrast on gradient-recalled echo (GRE) magnetic resonance (MR) images of the cervical spine. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sagittal and axial two-dimensional conventional GRE and MT GRE images were obtained in 103 patients with degenerative disk disease or intrinsic cord lesions. The contrast-to-noise ratios (C/Ns) for the cervical spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were compared for images obtained at various MT power level and section-select flip angle combinations. Axial three-dimensional GRE images were also obtained with application of MT and C/N evaluated in 10 additional patients. RESULTS: Tailored two-dimensional MT GRE images, obtained with a moderate MT power level and a section-select flip angle similar to the Ernst angle for CSF, provided an average of 2.2-2.4-fold improvement in spinal cord-CSF C/N than conventional GRE images (P < .001). CONCLUSION: The MT GRE images demonstrated superior delineation of disk herniations, foraminal stenosis, and intrinsic cord lesions over conventional GRE and T2-weighted spin-echo images in clinical cervical spine examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance (MR), magnetization transfer contrast
  • magnetic resonance (MR), pulse sequences
  • Spinal cord, MR
  • Spine, MR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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