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Physics of Diffusion Weighted Imaging

R Stafford1*, K Hwang2*, N Yanasak3*, (1) UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, (2) UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, (3) Augusta University, Augusta, GA


(Tuesday, 7/31/2018) 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Room: Karl Dean Ballroom B1

Advances in hardware performance and stability as well as acquisition design have allowed diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) MRI to emerge as a ubiquitous and important component for diagnosis, treatment planning and treatment assessment in various anatomical sites. Physicists need to understand the underlying biology generating contrast in these examinations, how to optimize and troubleshoot the acquisitions to visualize them, and the potential pitfalls and corrections necessary in providing a quantitative result.

Here we review the biological underpinnings of the biological basis for DWI that motivate current models used for analysis, including the apparent diffusion coefficient, intravoxel incoherent motion, kurtosis and anisotropic diffusion. The physics of the DWI acquisition sequence will be reviewed and how these models motivate acquisition strategies and relevant selection of diffusion weighting specific parameters will be addressed. Fundamental tradeoffs between signal, noise, resolution, artifacts and accuracy will be discussed with respect to acquisition strategies to provide insight into key parameter selection for optimization of DWI will be addressed. Recent developments with respect to how b-values are acquired, accelerated imaging techniques (i.e., parallel imaging, compressed sensing and simultaneous multi-slice acquisitions), high-resolution, and artifact reduction methods will be presented and their key advantages and disadvantages discussed. Lastly, key applications of DWI common in clinical use and common protocol parameters will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the motivating biophysics underlying current diffusion models
2. Learn modern techniques for optimizing the DWI acquisition
3. Understand key pitfalls and limitations of DWI



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