SWI incorporates high resolution 3D modified T2 STAR sequences combined with advanced thin-sliced scanning to maximize the magnetic susceptibility of paramagnetic substances such as iron, present even in the smallest area of hemorrhage. This magnetic susceptibility gives physicians the ability to visualize subtle brain injuries which contain microscopic areas of blood. How can injuries that are microscopic in size be seen? We can see them because of the microscopic area of hemorrhage that occur with shear and diffuse axonal injuries. This area of hemorrhage is too small to see with MRI’s. However, SWI detects not the hemorrhage, but the magnetic susceptibility of the blood breakdown products resulting from the hemorrhage. These blood breakdown products are paramagnetic and result in areas of low signal intensity many thousands of times larger than the microscopic area of hemorrhage. This is how SWI can detect lesions of such a small size. Research has shown that SWI sequences can detect areas of blood as small as 50 microns, which is 5/100 of a millimeter. These small brain injuries occur more often than previously thought and can result in profound neurological and psychological symptoms even with what was considered to be minor trauma.
We are here to serve you and your patients. Our Board Certified Radiologists are available for physician consultation upon request.Request a Call