To obtain high-quality high-resolution images of articular cartilage with reduced imaging time, we combined a novel technique of generalized multipoint fat-water separation with three-dimensional (3D) steady-state free precession (SSFP) imaging.The cartilage of 10 knees in five healthy volunteers was imaged with 3D SSFP imaging and a multipoint fat-water separation method capable of separating fat and water with short TE increments. Fat-saturated 3D spoiled gradient-echo (SPGR) images were obtained for comparison.High-quality images of the knee with excellent fat-water separation were obtained with 3D SSFP imaging. Total imaging time required was 58% less than that required for 3D SPGR imaging with a comparable cartilage signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution. Unlike 3D SPGR images, 3D SSFP images exhibited bright synovial fluid, providing a potential arthrographic effect.High-quality high-resolution images of articular cartilage with improved fat-water separation, bright synovial fluid, and markedly reduced acquisition times can be obtained with 3D SSFP imaging combined with a fat-water separation technique.
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