Comparison of image quality and in vivo appearance of the normal equine nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses in computed tomography and high field (3.0 T) magnetic resonance imaging.BMC Vet Res. 2016 Jan 19; 12:13.BV
Computed tomography (CT) is a well-established imaging technique in the diagnostics of equine sinunasal disease. High-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is becoming more readily available in equine veterinary medicine. MRI is appreciated for its superior ability to depict soft tissues with high contrast. To compare the established technique of CT in the depiction of the equine nasal cavities, paranasal sinuses and adjoining anatomical structures to 3 Tesla MRI the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses of 13 horses were examined using CT and 3 Tesla MRI.
Comparison of CT and MRI images of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavities and adjoining anatomical structures of 13 healthy horses showed that the inter-rater agreement for the CT examinations was higher than the inter-rater agreement for the MRI examinations. CT images proved to be significantly higher rated for the depiction of cortical bone, while MR images were higher rated for the appearance of soft tissues. For the distinction between different tissues or anatomical structures the MR images were significantly higher rated and especially T2-weighted sequences allowed for a good distinction between delicate structures. None of the MRI sequences produced an exact depiction of the lumen of the nasomaxillary aperture while the CT with a bone window allowed for a satisfying visualization.
The CT is an imaging modality that produces high quality images within a short time when examining equine nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses. The strength of CT lies in the high quality depiction of large and delicate structures with high radiodensity. High field MRI with a field strength of 3 Tesla produces images of high quality that allow for the distinction of delicate soft tissue structures but requires long examination times. The high field strength of 3 Tesla magnetic imaging introduces new possibilities in tomographic soft tissue imaging of the equine head but cannot match up with the CT in terms of visualization of bone and total examination duration. Therefore, clinicians should consider the exact imaging needs in clinical cases to decide whether a single examination or a combination of both imaging techniques may promise the greatest benefit for the patient.