According to the study, SMASH imaging, which acquires many pictures at the same time as opposed to traditional imaging techniques that acquire one image at a time, is commonly used in cardiac imaging and other applications where high-resolution fast imaging is needed, but it had not yet been used for musculoskeletal imaging.
For this particular study, the researchers examined MR images of the knee in 50 patients using both SMASH T2-weighted imaging and fat-saturated T2-weighted imaging, a technique that allows better detection of bone marrow abnormalities. They found that using SMASH imaging decreased examination time by more than eight minutes on each knee examination.
"The benefits of this time savings is that patients tolerate the procedure better--there's no claustrophobia, they can stay relaxed and still. This, in turn, produces less motion on the images, making them easier to interpret," said Thomas H. Magee, MD, lead author of the study.
Even though this study centered exclusively on the knee, according to Dr. Magee the use of SMASH imaging can impact other areas of musculoskeletal imaging as well. "The findings can be generalized for just about all of musculoskeletal imaging, with the right coil. For instance, besides the knee, we've also used SMASH imaging for the shoulder," Dr. Magee said.
Dr. Magee will present the study on May 3 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.