Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important medical imaging technique for visualizing soft tissue structures in the body. It has the advantages of being noninvasive and, unlike x-ray, does not rely on ionizing radiation for imaging. In traditional hydrogen-based MRI, the strongest measured signals are generated from the hydrogen nuclei contained in water and fat molecules.Reliable and uniform water fat separation can be used to improve medical diagnosis. In many applications the water component is the primary signal of interest, while the fat component represents a signal which can obscure the underlying pathology or other features of interest. In other applications the fat signal is the signal of interest. There currently exist many techniques for water fat separation. Dixon reconstruction techniques take multiple images acquired at select echo times with specific phase properties. Linear combinations of these images produce separate water and fat images. In MR imaging, images with high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), that can be generated in a short time, are desired. Balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) MRI is a technique capable of producing images with high SNR in a short imaging time but suffers from signal voids or banding artifacts due to magnetic field inhomogeneity and susceptibly variations. These signal voids degrade image quality. Several methods have been developed to remove these banding effects. The simplest methods combine images across multiple bSSFP image acquisitions. This thesis describes a technique in water fat separation I developed which combines the advantages of bSSFP with Dixon reconstruction in order to produce robust water fat decomposition with high SNR in a short imaging time, while simultaneously reducing banding artifacts which traditionally degrade image quality. This algorithm utilizes four phased-cycled bSSFP acquisitions at specific echo times. Phase sensitive post-processing and a field map are used to prepare the data and reduce the effects of field inhomogeneities. Dixon reconstruction is then used to generate separate water and fat images.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, fat suppression, water fat separation, water fat decomposition, steady state free precession, SSFP, bSSFP, Dixon