Quantitative MRI of the spine

Quantitative MRI of the spine

We have employed several quantitative MRI techniques to study intervertebral disc degeneration. Perfusion and diffusion in disc endplates is being studied using dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI); changes in discs are studied using DTI, Ultra-short TE and T1rho imaging techniques. The goal is to explore the pathophysiology of spinal disc degeneration and the mechanisms that lead to this ailment. Our preliminary findings show that the blood perfusion deficiencies in disc endplates are closely associated with degeneration.

T2 weighted sagittal image and quantitative MRI of intervertebral discs in the lumbar area. Pfirrmann degeneration grade is labeled next to each disc on the T2 weighted image. A normative database is established for disc height index (DHI) and shrinkage of discs with degeneration can be quantified.

Voxelwise enhancement maps in endplate (EP) and subchondral bone (SB) ROIs projected and transformed onto the template vertebral structures. Enhancement maps were grouped according to the degeneration grade of the corresponding disc and averaged to generate these maps. Note that EP and SB regions around Grade V discs had substantially elevated enhancement, therefore the scales had to be almost doubled to capture the increased dynamic range.

Study PI: L. Tugan Muftuler, PhDAssociate Professor of Neurosurgery