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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Approaches to inhomogeneity artifact correction in magnetic resonance imaging near metals Hoff, Michael Nicholas


Clinical procedures such as image-guided surgery and assessment of tissue regions near implants can greatly benefit from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) near metals. Unfortunately, metals perturb the MRI magnetic field, causing deleterious image distortion, signal loss, and signal overlap artifacts. Several techniques have been developed to correct these artifacts, but those which provide comprehensive solutions require scan times which are too lengthy for time-constrained imaging applications. This study outlines an approach for reconstructing metal artifact corrected images with unique contrast in minimal scan time. First, a technique was developed to completely eliminate distortion in spin-echo images of metals using added phase gradients along the distorted dimension. Attempts to generalize this technique for the correction of signal loss and overlap artifacts faced difficulties. However, these investigations provoked the discovery of a new framework for imaging near metals. This framework is based on the balanced steady state free precession (bSSFP) sequence, which generates images near metals with little to no signal overlap, signal loss, and distortion. Two methods were developed to completely remove problematic signal modulation and banding artifacts using four images with variable radiofrequency phase cycling. One technique employs geometric intuition, and the other an algebraic derivation to calculate unique expressions for the same base demodulated signal. The variable performance of the two techniques on noisy data inspires their variance-weighted summation for robust and high performance image reconstruction. Complementary techniques for reduction of bSSFP signal loss, distortion, and scan time were also devised. Shimming with imaging gradients is shown to recover biphasic signal loss at the cost of extra scan time. Residual distortion is corrected using the phase of the geometric demodulation solution. Two techniques reduce the amount of image data required for signal demodulation. When all developments are considered, a customized balance of image fidelity and scan time may be achieved. Images without bSSFP banding or distortion may be formed of regions close to metals, and residual signal loss may be recovered at the expense of longer scan time. Additional data reduction measures complete the described framework’s capacity for flexible and efficient imaging near metals.

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