PROPELLER is an acronym for "Periodically Rotated Overlapping ParallEL Lines with Enhanced Reconstruction." This method acquires data in a unique way that allows one to track the motion of the patient during the MRI scan. The motion can then be removed.
"While PROPELLER technology continues to be refined, GE has already incorporated the novel method into new medical equipment," said Jim Pipe, senior staff scientist in the MRI Department at Barrow. "We believe that PROPELLER technology will help drive the future of MRI."
There are two major applications for this method. The first is motion-insensitive imaging. For the first time, high-quality MRI scans can be collected on many segments of the population who cannot hold still (children, Parkinson's patients, etc.). This is leading the technology to a point where patient motion, which may be the biggest obstacle to good images, is no longer a factor.
The second application for PROPELLER is stroke imaging. The technology used to detect and characterize strokes, called "Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI)," is extremely sensitive to even minute motion in a patient. Prior to PROPELLER, DWI images suffered in quality because the methods used to reduce this motion sensitivity also reduced image quality. With PROPELLER DWI, small strokes are much easier to detect, grade and follow during treatment.