Objectives: To determine the most appropriate sequences for the visualizati
on of small parotid ducts in MR sialography.
Methods: MR images of a phantom consisting of distilled water in polyethyle
ne tubes were obtained with turbo-spin echo (TSE), single-shot turbo-spin e
cho (SSTSE), half-fourier acquisition, single-shot turbo-spin echo (HASTE)
and turbo gradient-spin echo (TGSE) pulse sequences and compared visually a
nd quantitatively. MR sialograms obtained from healthy volunteers and patie
nts with Sjogren's syndrome (SS) were obtained using the same four sequence
Results: In the phantom, TSE images were best and the contrast-noise ratio
(CNR) highest. In the volunteers, the main ducts were especially clearly vi
sualized with TSE and in SSTSE; however, the majority of secondary and/or t
ertiary parotid ducts were not depicted by any of the sequences used. In SS
patients, images of small main ducts and small pseudocysts were clearer us
ing TSE. However, TSE could not depict the narrow main ducts or peripheral
ducts or very small pseudocysts.
Conclusions: TSE is considered the most suitable MR sequence for assessing
small parotid gland ducts. However, further improvement is needed since it
does not always visualize them sufficiently.