PURPOSE - To assess the effect of anisotropic smoothing on fiber tracking measures, including pennation angle, fiber tract length, and fiber tract number in the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle in healthy subjects using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS - 3T DW-MRI data were used for muscle fiber tractography in the MG of healthy subjects. Anisotropic smoothing was applied at three levels (5%, 10%, 15%), and pennation angle, tract length, fiber tract number, fractional anisotropy, and principal eigenvector orientation were quantified for each smoothing level.
RESULTS - Fiber tract length increased with pre-fiber tracking smoothing, and local heterogeneities in fiber direction were reduced. However, pennation angle was not affected by smoothing.
CONCLUSION - Modest anisotropic smoothing (10%) improved fiber-tracking results, while preserving structural features.