Imaging of the microvasculature is often performed using contrast agents in combination with either ultrasound (US) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Contrast agents are used to enhance medical imaging by highlighting microvascular properties and function. Dynamic signal changes arising from the passage of contrast agents through the microvasculature can be used to characterize different pathologies; however, comparisons across modalities are difficult due to differences in the interactions of contrast agents with the microvasculature. Better knowledge of the relationship of contrast enhancement patterns with both modalities could enable better characterization of tissue microvasculature. We developed a co-registration platform for multimodal US and MR imaging using clinical imaging systems in order to study the relationship between US and MR contrast enhancement. A preliminary validation study was performed in phantoms to determine the registration accuracy of the platform. In phantoms, the in-plane registration accuracy was measured to be 0.2 ± 0.2 and 0.3 ± 0.2 mm, in the lateral and axial directions, respectively. The out-of-plane registration accuracy was estimated to be 0.5 mm ±0.1. Co-registered US and MR imaging was performed in a rabbit model to evaluate contrast kinetics in different tissue types after bolus injections of US and MR contrast agents. The arrival time of the contrast agent in the plane of imaging was relatively similar for both modalities. We studied three different tissue types: muscle, large vessels and fat. In US, the temporal kinetics of signal enhancement were not strongly dependent on tissue type. In MR, however, due to the different amounts of agent extravasation in each tissue type, tissue-specific contrast kinetics were observed. This study demonstrates the feasibility of performing in vivo co-registered contrast US and MR imaging to study the relationships of the enhancement patterns with each modality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging