Detection of normal spinal veins by using susceptibility-weighted imaging
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PURPOSE: To evaluate the visualization of the spinal veins using susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI). MATERIALS AND METHODS: A 1.5-T magnet equipped with a spine matrix coil was used. Axial SWI scans of 20 healthy volunteers were obtained with a three-dimensional fast low-angle shot (3D-FLASH) sequence. Maximum intensity projection (MIP) of the phase images were reconstructed and five MIP images (at the levels of T11, T11/12, T12, T12/L1, and L1) were selected for the evaluation. The anterior median vein (AMV), posterior median vein (PMV), anterior radiculomedullary vein (ARV), posterior radiculomedullary vein (PRV), and sulcal vein (SV) were evaluated using a 4-grade scale (0, none; 1, weak; 2, moderate; and 3, prominent). RESULTS: The AMV was detected in all the subjects (100%). The detection rates of the other veins were lower: PMV, 65%; right ARV, 45%; left ARV, 15%; right PRV, 10%; left PRV, 30%; and SV, 0%. The average scores for AMV, PMV, right ARV, left ARV, right PRV, left PRV, and SV were 0.98, 0.24, 0.20, 0.08, 0.08, 0.14, and 0, respectively. CONCLUSION: SWI of the spine is feasible. The extrinsic spinal veins can be visualized by SWI without using contrast materials.
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