TOMOGRAPHY, September 2015, Volume 1, Issue 1: 3-17
Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping: Contrast Mechanisms and Clinical Applications
1Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, 2Department of Radiology, and 3Center for In Vivo Microscopy, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC
Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) is a recently developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for quantifying the spatial distribution of magnetic susceptibility within biological tissues. It first uses the frequency shift in the MRI signal to map the magnetic field profile within the tissue. The resulting field map is then used to determine the spatial distribution of the underlying magnetic susceptibility by solving an inverse problem. The solution is achieved by deconvolving the field map with a dipole field, under the assumption that the magnetic field results from a superposition of the dipole fields generated by all voxels and that each voxel has its own unique magnetic susceptibility. QSM provides an improved contrast-to-noise ratio for certain tissues and structures compared with its magnitude counterpart. More importantly, magnetic susceptibility
directly reflects the molecular composition and cellular architecture of the tissue. Consequently, by quantifying magnetic susceptibility, QSM is becoming a quantitative imaging approach for characterizing normal and pathological tissue properties. This article reviews the mechanism that generates susceptibility contrast within tissues and some associated applications.