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PURPOSE: Multi-shot diffusion-weighted EPI allows an increase in image resolution and reduced geometric distortions and can be combined with chemical-shift encoding (Dixon) to separate water/fat signals. However, such approaches suffer from physiological motion-induced shot-to-shot phase variations. In this work, a structured low-rank-based navigator-free algorithm is proposed to address the challenge of simultaneously separating water/fat signals and correcting for physiological motion-induced shot-to-shot phase variations in multi-shot EPI-based diffusion-weighted MRI. THEORY AND METHODS: We propose an iterative, model-based reconstruction pipeline that applies structured low-rank regularization to estimate and eliminate the shot-to-shot phase variations in a data-driven way, while separating water/fat images. The algorithm is tested in different anatomies, including head-neck, knee, brain, and prostate. The performance is validated in simulations and in-vivo experiments in comparison to existing approaches. RESULTS: In-vivo experiments and simulations demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm compared to extra-navigated and an alternative self-navigation approach. The proposed algorithm demonstrates the capability to reconstruct in the multi-shot/Dixon hybrid space domain under-sampled datasets, using the same number of acquired EPI shots compared to conventional fat-suppression techniques but eliminating fat signals through chemical-shift encoding. In addition, partial Fourier reconstruction can also be achieved by using the concept of virtual conjugate coils in conjunction with the proposed algorithm. CONCLUSION: The proposed algorithm effectively eliminates the shot-to-shot phase variations and separates water/fat images, making it a promising solution for future DWI on different anatomies.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date



Dixon, diffusion, multi-shot EPI, structured low-rank, water/fat separation