Estimating radiofrequency power deposition in body NMR imaging

Paul A. Bottomley, Rowland W. Redington, William A. Edelstein, John F. Schenck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Simple theoretical estimates of the average, maximum, and spatial variation of the radiofrequency power deposition (specific absorption rate) during hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance imaging are deduced for homogeneous spheres and for cylinders of biological tissue with a uniformly penetrating linear rf field directed axially and transverse to the cylindrical axis. These are all simple scalar multiples of the expression for the cylinder in an axial field published earlier (Med. Phys. 8, 510 (1981). Exact solutions for the power deposition in the cylinder with axial (Phys. Med. Biol. 23, 630 (1978) and transversely directed rf field are also presented, and the spatial variation of power deposition in head and body models is examined. In the exact models, the specific absorption rates decrease rapidly and monotonically with decreasing radius despite local increases in rf field amplitude. Conversion factors are provided for calculating the power deposited by Gaussian and sinc‐modulated rf pulses used for slice selection in NMR imaging, relative to rectangular profiled pulses. Theoretical estimates are compared with direct measurements of the total power deposited in the bodies of nine adult males by a 63‐MHz body‐imaging system with transversely directed field, taking account of cable and NMR coil losses. The results for the average power deposition agree within about 20% for the exact model of the cylinder with axial field, when applied to the exposed torso volume enclosed by the rf coil. The average values predicted by the simple spherical and cylindrical models with axial fields, the exact cylindrical model with transverse field, and the simple truncated cylinder model with transverse field were about two to three times that measured, while the simple model consisting of an infinitely long cylinder with transverse field gave results about six times that measured. The surface power deposition measured by observing the incremental power as a function of external torso radius was comparable to the average value. This is consistent with the presence of a variable thickness peripheral adipose layer which does not substantially increase surface power deposition with increasing torso radius. The absence of highly localized intensity artifacts in 63‐MHz body images does not suggest anomalously intense power deposition at localized internal sites, although peak power is difficult to measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-349
Number of pages14
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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