In contrast to most other imaging techniques, MRI can provide 3-dimensional tomography of the gut and surrounding structures. The use of a radiofrequency (RF) coil within the lumen of the gut increases the signal to noise (S/N) ratio with the potential of enhanced images of intramural structures as well as greater accuracy in identifying lesions in extraluminal organs eg lymph nodes and pancreas. Until now, however, the use of an endoluminal RF coil has been restricted to imaging the prostate. Methods. We have developed a new prototype quadrature RF coil that can be easily inserted through the mouth or nose into the esophagus and stomach. The coil is long, narrow and flexible. It is sensitive to magnetic resonance signal at any orientation with respect to the main magnetic field. Results. Preliminary use of this coil in pigs has been encouraging. Sharp images of the esophagus and stomach are observed, permitting ready differentiation of a 3-layered (mucosa, submucosa and muscularis) wall structure. Further refinements in this system are expected to permit identification of lesions in lymph nodes and neighboring organs. Conclusions. Because of its ease of use and ability for multiplanar imaging, this technique appears to provide a feasible alternative to endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) for upper gastrointestinal lesions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging