Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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Purpose: To validate iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least-squares estimation (IDEAL) for adipose tissue volume quantification. IDEAL allows MRI images to be produced only from adipose-containing tissues; hence, quantifying adipose tissue should be simpler and more accurate than with current methods. Materials and Methods: Ten healthy controls were imaged with 1.5 Tesla (T) Spin Echo (SE), 3.0T T1-weighted spoiled gradient echo (SPGR), and 3.0T IDEAL-SPGR. Images were acquired from the abdomen, pelvis, mid-thigh, and mid-calf. Mean subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue volumes were compared between the three acquisitions for each subject. Results: There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between the three acquisitions for subcutaneous adipose tissue volumes. However, there was a significant difference (P = 0.0002) for visceral adipose tissue volumes in the abdomen. Post hoc analysis showed significantly lower visceral adipose tissue volumes measured by IDEAL versus 1.5T (P < 0.0001) and 3.0T SPGR (P < 0.002). The lower volumes given by IDEAL are due to its ability to differentiate true visceral adipose tissue from other bright structures like blood vessels and bowel content that are mistaken for adipose tissue in non-fat suppressed images. Conclusion: IDEAL measurements of adipose tissue are equivalent to established 1.5T measurement techniques for subcutaneous depots and have improved accuracy for visceral depots, which are more metabolically relevant. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.