Quantitative magnetic susceptibility mapping without phase unwrapping using WASSR

Issel Anne L. Lim, Xu Li, Craig K. Jones, Jonathan A.D. Farrell, Deepti S. Vikram, Peter C.M. van Zijl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The magnetic susceptibility of tissue within and around an image voxel affects the magnetic field and thus the local frequency in that voxel. Recently, it has been shown that spatial maps of frequency can be used to quantify local susceptibility if the contributions of surrounding tissue can be deconvolved. Currently, such quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) methods employ gradient recalled echo (GRE) imaging to measure spatial differences in the signal phase evolution as a function of echo time, from which frequencies can be deduced. Analysis of these phase images, however, is complicated by phase wraps, despite the availability and usage of various phase unwrapping algorithms. In addition, lengthy high-resolution GRE scanning often heats the magnet bore, causing the magnetic field to drift over several Hertz, which is on the order of the frequency differences between tissues. Here, we explore the feasibility of applying the WAter Saturation Shift Referencing (WASSR) method for 3D whole brain susceptibility imaging. WASSR uses direct saturation of water protons as a function of frequency irradiation offset to generate frequency maps without phase wraps, which can be combined with any image or spectroscopy acquisition. By utilizing a series of fast short-echo-time direct saturation images with multiple radiofrequency offsets, a frequency correction for field drift can be applied based on the individual image phases. Regions of interest were delineated with an automated atlas-based method, and the average magnetic susceptibilities calculated from frequency maps obtained from WASSR correlated well with those from the phase-based multi-echo GRE approach at 3. T.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Direct saturation
  • Field mapping
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Phase
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM)
  • WAter Saturation Shift Referencing (WASSR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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