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eISSN: 1643-3750

Application of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in pathological changes of the spinal cord

Marek J. Sąsiadek, Paweł Szewczyk, Joanna Bladowska

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(6): RA73-79

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882891

Available online: 2012-06-01

Published: 2012-06-01

We review the current knowledge concerning clinical applications of the advanced technique of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the spinal cord. Due to technical difficulties, DTI has rarely been used in spinal cord diseases. However, in our opinion it is potentially a very useful method in diagnosis of the different pathological processes of the spinal cord and spinal canal. We discuss the physical principles and technical aspects of DTI, as well as current and future applications. DTI seems to be a very promising method for assessment of spinal cord trauma, spinal canal tumors, degenerative myelopathy, as well as demyelinating and infectious diseases of the spinal cord. DTI enables both qualitative and quantitative (by measuring of the fractional anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient parameters) assessment of the spinal cord. The particular applications are illustrated by the examples provided in this article.

Keywords: Spinal Cord - pathology, Diffusion Tensor Imaging - methods, Animals, Spinal Cord Diseases - pathology