Diffusion measurements derived from breast MRI can be adversely affected by unwanted signals from abundant fatty tissues if they are not suppressed adequately. To minimize this undesired contribution, we designed and optimized a water-selective diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) sequence, which relies on spectrally selective excitation on the water resonance, obviating the need for fat suppression. As this method is more complex than standard DWI methods, we also report a test-retest study to evaluate its reproducibility. In this study, a spectrally selective Gaussian pulse on water resonance was combined with a pair of slice-selective adiabatic refocusing pulses for water-only DWI. Field map-based shimming and manual determination of the center frequency were used for water selection. The selectivity of the excitation pulse was optimized by a spectrally selective spectroscopy sequence based on the same principles. A test-retest study of 10 volunteers in two separate visits was used to evaluate its reproducibility. Our results from all subjects showed high-quality diffusion-weighted images of the breast without fat contamination. Mean apparent diffusion coefficients for b = 0, 600 s/mm(2) and b = 50, 600 s/mm(2) all showed good reproducibility, as 95% confidence intervals of the apparent diffusion coefficients were 4 × 10(-5) mm(2) /s and 5 × 10(-5) mm(2) /s and repeatability values were 1.09 × 10(-4) and 1.31 × 10(-4) , respectively. In conclusion, water-selective DWI is a feasible alternative to standard methods of DWI based on fat suppression. The added complexity of the method does not compromise the reproducibility of diffusion measurements in the breast.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.