T2 Nerve Imaging of the Brachial Plexus Using Compressed-SENSE Effect on Image Quality and Acquisition Time

(RSNA 2018, Wed Nov 28 2018 3:40PM – 3:50PM ROOM Z17)


In this study, compressed sensing is combined with the parallel-imaging or SENSE infrastructure, i.e., Compressed-SENSE (CSENSE), for accelerating anatomical MR data acquisition by exploiting the multi-element receiver coil sensitivity variation and sparsity constraining. We quantitatively evaluate the dual role of CSENSE imaging in reducing scan time without loss in resolution and in improving resolution with minimal increase in scan time.


Ten healthy volunteers were scanned on a 3.0T MRI (Ingenia, Philips) using a proprietary “3D NerveView Sequence” (NVS), a T2W TSE isotropic sequence (TR 2200, TE 170, 2 mm slice thickness). Three versions of NVS were developed, SEQ1 (no CSENSE), SEQ2 (CSENSE factor = 9) and SEQ3 (CSENSE factor = 9) with acquisition times 6:16, 3:22 and 8:19 minutes respectively. SEQ1 and SEQ2 had the same acquisition and recon matrix of 252X325 and 640X640 while SEQ3 had a higher resolution having acquisition and recon matrix of 316X414 and 720X720 respectively. Contrast-to-Noise Ratio (CNR) was measured in all at the levels of the nerve roots (C5 to T1 levels), trunks and cords using Shinkei’s formula of CNR = (SI-Nerve – SI-Muscle)/ (SI-Nerve + SI-Muscle) where SI is average Signal Intensity in the region.


There was no significant difference in CNR for roots in all three sequences, i.e. SEQ1 – 0.7102±0.102, SEQ2 – 0.7040±0.044 and SEQ3 – 0.7253±0.035. In the trunks, SEQ3 performed as well as SEQ1 with a CNR of 0.567±0.10 against 0.5497±0.09. SEQ2 had a lower CNR of 0.4843±0.11. At the level of cords, SEQ1 outperformed both SEQ2 and SEQ3 with a CNR of 0.4248±0.17 against 0.3079±0.11 and 0.3505±0.19 respectively. We note that CSENSE performs better in areas where average CNR is on the higher side.


While CSENSE gives radiologists flexibility of reducing time or increasing resolution, the decision of when and how to use CSENSE depends on the clinical context. It can be used to reduce scan time when root lesions are suspected and improve resolution when lesions of the trunks and cords are suspected.


Compressed Sensing for nerve imaging should be part of every radiologist and technologists’ arsenal to conduct patient-specific personalised scanning. Lower scan time leads to improved patient comfort and hence less motion artefacts, and higher resolution improves diagnostic accuracy of the scan.