Magnetic resonance imaging of the human spine and spinal cord at 3 tesla. A technical note

L. Albini Riccioli, A. F. Marliani, P. Ghedin, V. Clementi, R. Agati, D. Cevolani, M. Leonardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigation of the spinal cord with a high field strength MR system is hampered by the inhomogeneous magnetic field, physiological movements and the small size of the anatomical area. We describe normal and pathological neuroradiological findings and the parameters of optimized sequences for use with the new 3T MR systems. Thanks to its high spatial resolution, temporal resolution and signal/noise ratio, use of a 3 Tesla MR device (Signa EXCITE 3T) and a dedicated phased array coil has dramatically improved spine and spinal cord imaging, clearly displaying the anatomic details most difficult to examine. The longer T1 longitudinal tissue relaxation time with 3T MR systems is proportional to the strength of the external magnetic field B0. Tissue contrast between white matter, grey matter, CSF and bone tissue is not optimal with traditional spin echo and/or fast spin echo sequences. Hence they are often replaced by T1 Flair acquisitions (Fast Spin Echo-IR with average inversion times of 800-1000ms) which yield T1 weighted images with satisfactory contrast. Unlike images produced by systems using a lower magnetic field strength, 3T MR T2 sequences are highly diagnostic, disclosing the finest anatomical details.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-616
Number of pages11
JournalRivista di Neuroradiologia
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • 3 T MRI
  • CE-MRA
  • High field MRI
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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