Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The background underpinning the clinical use of ultrashort echo time, SPRITE and other pulse sequences for imaging bone and other connective tissues with short T2 is reviewed. Features of the basic physics relevant to UTE imaging are described, including the consequences when the radiofrequency pulse duration is of the order of T2 so that rotation of tissue magnetization into the transverse plane is incomplete. Consequences of the broad linewidth of short T2 components are also discussed, including partial saturation by off-resonance fat suppression pulses as well as those used in multislice and multiecho imaging. The need for rapid data acquisition of the order of T2 is explained. The basic two-dimensional UTE pulse sequence with its half excitation pulse and radial imaging from the centre of k-space is described, together with options that suppress fat and/or reduce the signal from long T2 components. The basic features of SPRITE and other sequences with very short TE are described. Image interpretation is discussed. Clinical features of the imaging of cortical bone, tendons, ligaments, menisci, periosteum and the spine are illustrated. The source of the short T2 signal in these tissues is predominantly collagen and water tightly bound to collagen. Short T2 components in all of these tissues are detectible and may show high signals. Possible future developments are outlined, as are technical limitations of clinical magnetic resonance systems.

Original publication




Journal article


NMR Biomed

Publication Date





765 - 780


Animals, Bone and Bones, Connective Tissue, Echo-Planar Imaging, Humans, Image Enhancement, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted