Rapid anatomical imaging of the neonatal brain using T -prepared 3D balanced steady-state free precession

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Magnetic resonance in medicine




T2-preparation; anatomical imaging; neonatal brain; steady-state free precession; structural imaging


PURPOSE: To develop a new approach to 3D gradient echo-based anatomical imaging of the neonatal brain with a substantially shorter scan time than standard 3D fast spin echo (FSE) methods, while maintaining a high SNR. METHODS: T -prepration was employed immediately prior to image acquisition of 3D balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) with a single trajectory of center-out k-space view ordering, which requires no magnetization recovery time between imaging segments during the scan. This approach was compared with 3D FSE, 2D single-shot FSE, and product 3D bSSFP imaging in numerical simulations, plus phantom and in vivo experiments. RESULTS: T -prepared 3D bSSFP generated image contrast of gray matter, white matter, and CSF very similar to that of reference T -weighted imaging methods, without major image artifacts. Scan time of T -prepared 3D bSSFP was remarkably shorter compared to 3D FSE, whereas SNR was comparable to that of 3D FSE and higher than that of 2D single-shot FSE. Specific absorption rate of T -prepared 3D bSSFP remained within the safety limit. Determining an optimal imaging flip angle of T -prepared 3D bSSFP was critical to minimizing blurring of images. CONCLUSION: T -prepared 3D bSSFP offers an alternative method for anatomical imaging of the neonatal brain with dramatically reduced scan time compared to standard 3D FSE and higher SNR than 2D single-shot FSE.