Fat quantification in the vertebral body: Comparison of modified dixon technique with single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Sang Hyup Lee, Hye Jin Yoo, Seung Man Yu, Sung Hwan Hong, Ja Young Choi, Hee Dong Chae

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Objective: To compare the lumbar vertebral bone marrow fat-signal fractions obtained from six-echo modified Dixon sequence (6-echo m-Dixon) with those from single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in patients with low back pain. Materials and Methods: Vertebral bone marrow fat-signal fractions were quantified by 6-echo m-Dixon (repetition time [TR] = 7.2 ms, echo time (TE) = 1.21 ms, echo spacing = 1.1 ms, total imaging time = 50 seconds) and single-voxel MRS measurements in 25 targets (23 normal bone marrows, two focal lesions) from 24 patients. The point-resolved spectroscopy sequence was used for localized single-voxel MRS (TR = 3000 ms, TE = 35 ms, total scan time = 1 minute 42 seconds). A 2 x 2 x 1.5 cm 3 voxel was placed within the normal L2 or L3 vertebral body, or other lesions including a compression fracture or metastasis. The bone marrow fat spectrum was characterized on the basis of the magnitude of measurable fat peaks and a priori knowledge of the chemical structure of triglycerides. The imaging-based fat-signal fraction results were then compared to the MRS-based results. Results: There was a strong correlation between m-Dixon and MRS-based fat-signal fractions (slope = 0.86, R 2 = 0.88, p < 0.001). In Bland-Altman analysis, 92.0% (23/25) of the data points were within the limits of agreement. Bland-Altman plots revealed a slight but systematic error in the m-Dixon based fat-signal fraction, which showed a prevailing overestimation of small fat-signal fractions (< 20%) and underestimation of high fat-signal fractions (> 20%). Conclusion: Given its excellent agreement with single-voxel-MRS, 6-echo m-Dixon can be used for visual and quantitative evaluation of vertebral bone marrow fat in daily practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalKorean Journal of Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019



  • Fat quantification
  • MR spectroscopy
  • Modified dixon
  • Vertebra

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