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Tau
 
(t) The interpulse times (time between the 90° and 180° pulse, and between the 180° pulse and the echo) used in a spin echo pulse sequence.
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Fat SuppressionForum -
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Fat suppression is the process of utilizing specific MRI parameters to remove the deleterious effects of fat from the resulting images, e.g. with STIR, FAT SAT sequences, water selective (PROSET WATS - water only selection, also FATS - fat only selection possible) excitation techniques, or pulse sequences based on the Dixon method.
Spin magnetization can be modulated by using special RF pulses. CHESS or its variations like SPIR, SPAIR (Spectral Selection Attenuated Inversion Recovery) and FAT SAT use frequency selective excitation pulses, which produce fat saturation.
Fat suppression techniques are nearly used in all body parts and belong to every standard MRI protocol of joints like knee, shoulder, hips, etc.


Image Guidance
Imaging of, e.g. the foot can induce bad fat suppression with SPIR/FAT SAT due to the asymmetric volume of this body part. The volume of the foot alters the magnetic field to a different degree than the smaller volume of the lower leg affecting the protons there. There is only a small band of tissue where the fat protons are precessing at the frequency expected, resulting in frequency selective fat saturation working only in that area. This can be corrected by volume shimming or creating a more symmetrical volume being imaged with water bags.
Even with their longer scan time and motion sensitivity, STIR (short T1//tau inversion recovery) sequences are often the better choice to suppress fat. STIR images are also preferred because of the decreased sensitivity to field inhomogeneities, permitting larger fields of views when compared to fat suppressed images and the ability to image away from the isocenter.
See also Knee MRI.
Recently introduced Dixon turbo spin echo (fast spin echo) sequences can deliver a significant better fat suppression than conventional TSE//FSE imaging.

 
Images, Movies, Sliders:
 Shoulder Axial T2 FatSat FRFSE  Open this link in a new window
    

Courtesy of  Robert R. Edelman
 MRI Orbita T2 FatSat  Open this link in a new window
    
 Knee MRI Sagittal STIR 001  Open this link in a new window
 MRI - Anatomic Imaging of the Ankle 3  Open this link in a new window
    
SlidersSliders Overview

 
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Further Reading:
  Basics:
Techniques of Fat Suppression(.pdf)
   by cds.ismrm.org    
  News & More:
Enhanced Fast GRadient Echo 3-Dimensional (efgre3D) or THRIVE
   by www.mri.tju.edu    
Ultrashort echo time (UTE) MRI of the spine in thalassaemia
February 2004   by bjr.birjournals.org    
MRI Resources 
Liver Imaging - Claustrophobia - Cardiovascular Imaging - Intraoperative MRI - Patient Information - Sequences
 
Short T1 Inversion RecoveryInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
Intro, 
Overview, 
Types of, 
etc.MRI Resource Directory:
 - Sequences -
 
(STIR) Also called Short Tau (t) (inversion time) Inversion Recovery. STIR is a fat suppression technique with an inversion time TI = T1 ln2 where the signal of fat is zero (T1 is the spin lattice relaxation time of the component that should be suppressed). To distinguish two tissue components with this technique, the T1 values must be different. Fluid Attenuation Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) is a similar technique to suppress water.
Inversion recovery doubles the distance spins will recover, allowing more time for T1 differences. A 180° preparation pulse inverts the net magnetization to the negative longitudinal magnetization prior to the 90° excitation pulse. This specialized application of the inversion recovery sequence set the inversion time (TI) of the sequence at 0.69 times the T1 of fat. The T1 of fat at 1.5 Tesla is approximately 250 with a null point of 170 ms while at 0.5 Tesla its 215 with a 148 ms null point. At the moment of excitation, about 120 to 170 ms after the 180° inversion pulse (depending of the magnetic field) the magnetization of the fat signal has just risen to zero from its original, negative, value and no fat signal is available to be flipped into the transverse plane.
When deciding on the optimal T1 time, factors to be considered include not only the main field strength, but also the tissue to be suppressed and the anatomy. In comparison to a conventional spin echo where tissues with a short T1 are bright due to faster recovery, fat signal is reversed or darkened. Because body fluids have both a long T1 and a long T2, it is evident that STIR offers the possibility of extremely sensitive detection of body fluid. This is of course, only true for stationary fluid such as edema, as the MRI signal of flowing fluids is governed by other factors.
See also Fat Suppression and Inversion Recovery Sequence.
 
Images, Movies, Sliders:
 Sagittal Knee MRI Images STIR  Open this link in a new window
      

 
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Further Reading:
  Basics:
Techniques of Fat Suppression(.pdf)
   by cds.ismrm.org    
MRI GLOSSARY
   by fonar.com    
  News & More:
Contrast mechanisms in magnetic resonance imaging
2004   by www.iop.org    
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