There is an unmet need to perform imaging in young children and obtain CT-equivalent cranial bone images without subjecting the patients to radiation. In this study, the authors propose using a high-resolution fast low-angle shot golden-angle 3D stack-of-stars radial volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (GA-VIBE) MRI sequence that is intrinsically robust to motion and has enhanced bone versus soft-tissue contrast.
Patients younger than 11 years of age, who underwent clinical head CT scanning for craniosynostosis or other cranial malformations, were eligible for the study. 3D reconstructed images created from the GA-VIBE MRI sequence and the gold-standard CT scan were randomized and presented to 3 blinded reviewers. For all image sets, each reviewer noted the presence or absence of the 6 primary cranial sutures and recorded on 5-point Likert scales whether they recommended a second scan be performed.
Eleven patients (median age 1.8 years) underwent MRI after clinical head CT scanning was performed. Five of the 11 patients were sedated. Three clinicians reviewed the images, and there were no cases, either with CT scans or MR images, in which a reviewer agreed a repeat scan was required for diagnosis or surgical planning. The reviewers reported clear imaging of the regions of interest on 99% of the CT reviews and 96% of the MRI reviews. With CT as the standard, the sensitivity and specificity of the GA-VIBE MRI sequence to detect suture closure were 97% and 96%, respectively (n = 198 sutures read).
The 3D reconstructed images using the GA-VIBE sequence in comparison to the CT scans created clinically acceptable cranial images capable of detecting cranial sutures. Future directions include reducing the scan time, improving motion correction, and automating postprocessing for clinical utility.