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WARF: P06231US

Removal of Chemical Shift Artifacts in Magnetic Resonance Images with Alternating Readout Gradients


INVENTORS -

Scott Reeder

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method to remove chemical shift artifacts from MR images.
OVERVIEWMagnetic resonance (MR) imaging technology is used to measure nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) from various substances in human tissue to produce medical images for qualitative and quantitative assessments.  These various substances in human tissue emit NMR when a magnetic field is applied at the substance’s Larmor frequency.

Water is the most important substance in human tissue for NMR detection and imaging due to its abundance and specific properties.  Fat also emits NMR, but at a different Larmor frequency than water.  This difference is termed the “chemical shift” and causes blurring or multiple edges to appear in the reconstructed images.  This is of particular concern for techniques such as fast spin-echo (FSE), steady-state free precession (SSFP) and gradient echo (GRE) imaging, where fat obscures images due to its brightness.

Many techniques have been developed to suppress fat signals for clearer imaging.  Short-TI inversion recovery (STIR) provides uniform fat suppression, but increases the signal-to-noise ratio.  The “In and Out of Phase” imaging method exploits the chemical shifts between water and fat to produce separate images.  This method has been developed further, but still suffers from blurring and the appearance of multiple edges.  These problems are especially troublesome at higher magnetic field strengths and lower bandwidth.
THE INVENTIONA UW–Madison researcher has developed a method to remove chemical shift artifacts from MR images.  Images are acquired using opposite polarity readout gradients to completely suppress chemical shift artifacts.  The method uses a two-point acquisition to produce two images, one in phase and one out of phase.  The k-space data is acquired from left to right and then from right to left.  Using the chemical shift, the images are realigned to represent either water or fat.  This removes normal chemical shift artifacts, and also is suitable for MR imaging using higher magnetic field strengths with larger chemical shifts and lower bandwidths to improve signal-to-noise ratios.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
  • The market revenue for MRI systems in the U.S. is expected to reach $1,042.4 million in 2016.
  • In 2011, 601 MRI systems were shipped to U.S. customers at an average selling price of approximately $1.51 million, generating total revenue of $907.2 million.
  • Revenue from U.S. shipments of MRI systems is expected to grow by double digits from 2011 to 2016.
APPLICATIONS
  • MRI systems where chemical shift blurring or multiple edges occur
  • Fast spin-echo (FSE)
  • Steady-state free precession (SSFP)
  • Gradient echo (GRE) imaging
KEY BENEFITS
  • Suppresses water and fat chemical shift blurring and multiple edges
  • Works with high magnetic field strengths and low bandwidths
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at jeanine@warf.org or 608-960-9846.
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