Fast 3D MR elastography of the whole brain using spiral staircase: Data acquisition, image reconstruction, and joint deblurring

Xi Peng, Yi Sui, Joshua D. Trzasko, Kevin J. Glaser, John Huston, Richard L. Ehman, James G. Pipe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To address the need for a method to acquire 3D data for MR elastography (MRE) of the whole brain with substantially improved spatial resolution, high SNR, and reduced acquisition time compared with conventional methods. Methods: We combined a novel 3D spiral staircase data-acquisition method with a spoiled gradient-echo pulse sequence and MRE motion-encoding gradients (MEGs). The spiral-out acquisition permitted use of longer-duration motion-encoding gradients (ie, over two full oscillatory cycles) to enhance displacement SNR, while still maintaining a reasonably short TE for good phase-SNR. Through-plane parallel imaging with low noise penalties was implemented to accelerate acquisition along the slice direction. Shared anatomical information was exploited in the deblurring procedure to further boost SNR for stiffness inversion. Results: In vivo and phantom experiments demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed method in producing brain MRE results comparable to the spin-echo–based approaches, both qualitatively and quantitatively. High-resolution (2-mm isotropic) brain MRE data were acquired in 5 minutes using our method with good SNR. Joint deblurring with shared anatomical information produced SNR-enhanced images, leading to upward stiffness estimation. Conclusion: A novel 3D gradient-echo–based approach has been designed and implemented, and shown to have promising potential for fast and high-resolution in vivo MRE of the whole brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2024
Number of pages14
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • deblurring
  • joint anatomical constraint
  • magnetic resonance elastography
  • off-resonance
  • spiral staircase imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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