STIR, SPIR and SPAIR techniques in magnetic resonance of the breast: A comparative study


The amount of fat is a component that complicates the clinical evaluation and the differential diagnostic between benign and malign lesions in the breast MRI examinations. To overcome this problem, an effective erasing of the fat signal over the images acquisition process, is essentials. This study aims to compare three fat suppression techniques (STIR, SPIR, SPAIR) in the MR images of the breast and to evaluate the best image quality regarding its clinical usefulness. To mimic breast women, a breast phantom was constructed. First the exterior contour and, in second time, its content which was selected based on 7 samples with different components. Finally it was undergone to a MRI breast protocol with the three different fat saturation techniques. The examinations were performed on a 1.5 T MRI system (Philips?). A group of 5 experts evaluated 9 sequences, 3 of each with fat suppression techniques, in which the frequency offset and TI (Inversion Time) were the variables changed. This qualitative image analysis was performed according 4 parameters (saturation uniformity, saturation efficacy, detail of the anatomical structures and differentiation between the fibroglandular and adipose tissue), using a five-point Likert scale. The statistics analysis showed that anyone of the fat suppression techniques demonstrated significant differences compared to the others with (p > 0.05) and regarding each parameter independently. By Fleiss’ kappa coefficient there was a good agreement among observers P(e) = 0.68. When comparing STIR, SPIR and SPAIR techniques it was confirmed that all of them have advantages in the study of the breast MRI. For the studied parameters, the results through the Friedman Test showed that there are similar advantages applying anyone of these techniques.

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Ribeiro, M. , Rumor, L. , Oliveira, M. , O’Neill, J. and Maurício, J. (2013) STIR, SPIR and SPAIR techniques in magnetic resonance of the breast: A comparative study. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 6, 395-402. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2013.63A050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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