What is the role of the acquisition plane in magnetic resonance mammography (breast MRI) pulse sequences?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019
  • Author: Preeti Gupta, MD, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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The acquisition plane has a significant impact on the pulse sequence. Phase-direction motion artifacts due to breathing and heart motion are minimized by ensuring that the frequency-encoding direction is in the anteroposterior direction for axial and sagittal imaging. In the coronal plane, switching the phase direction craniocaudally allows the use of a rectangular field of view with reduced phase encoding, reducing the acquisition time. However, intramammary mapping of lesion location can be difficult in the coronal plane; respiratory motion may produce unpredictable variations in signal across the images; and some coils and sequences generate unwanted moiré-like image artifacts at the edges of the breast because of variations in bulk tissue susceptibility.

For these reasons, the authors prefer the axial and sagittal planes. These are also generally easier to correlate with the mammographic projections. Despite the problems with coronal imaging, the International Multicentre Breast MRI Study used the coronal plane for dynamic acquisitions, with excellent results. [45] Again, this testifies to the overall robustness of breast MRI as a technique, even with major differences in acquisition methods.

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