A prospective study found that T2-prepared functional MRI and diffusion-prepared diffusion tensor imaging can acquire functional and diffusion MRI, effectively, in healthy human participants wearing metallic orthodontic braces with less susceptibility artifacts and geometric distortion than with conventional echo-planar imaging.
The study, published in the journal Radiology, focused on the ability to reduce susceptibility artifacts in healthy human participants wearing metallic orthodontic braces for two alternative approaches: T2-prepared functional MRI and diffusion-prepared DTI with three-dimensional fast gradient-echo readout. Removable orthodontic braces with bonding trays were used so that MRI could be performed with braces and without braces in the same participants.
The study’s lead authors, Drs Xinyuan Miao and Yuankui Wu, evaluated six participants (mean age ± standard deviation, 40 years ± 6; three women). In brain regions with strong susceptibility effects from the metallic braces, T2-prepared functional MRI showed significantly higher SNR (37.8 ± 2.4 vs 15.5 ± 5.3; P < .001) and contrast-to-noise ratio (0.83 ± 0.16 vs 0.29 ± 0.10; P < .001). The diffusion-prepared DTI showed higher SNR (5.8 ± 1.5 vs 3.8 ± 0.7; P = .03) than did conventional EPI methods.
Apparent diffusion coefficient and fractional anisotropy were consistent with the literature. Geometric distortion was substantially reduced throughout the brain with the proposed methods (significantly higher Jaccard index, 0.95 ± 0.12 vs 0.81 ± 0.61; P < .001).
Results were evaluated in regions with strong (EPI dropout regions for functional MRI and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus for DTI) and minimal (motor cortex for functional MRI and the posterior limb of internal capsule for DTI) susceptibility artifacts. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise ratio for functional MRI, apparent diffusion coefficient and fractional anisotropy for DTI, and degree of distortion (quantified with the Jaccard index, which measures the similarity of geometric shapes) were compared in regions with strong or minimal susceptibility effects between the current standard EPI sequences and the proposed alternatives by using paired t test.