Thoracic spinal cord consensus?

Dear Julien &co

Is there an equivalent (for Siemens scanners) of the cervical spinal cord consensus protocol for the thoracic spinal cord? If not, do you have any guidelines on how to adapt it? What can and can’t be done?

Best wishes


Hi Daniel,

Thank you for bringing this up. The cervical spine generic consensus protocol was designed having in mind that some people would adapt it to the thoracolumbar cord. More specifics below:

  • The T1w and T2w should be usable out of the box, although you might want to decrease iPAT/SENSE factor because of the lower coil coverage along the A-P direction. This will also help retrieving some SNR (usually spine coils are less sensitive than neck coils, where more elements can be wrapped around the neck).
  • MT protocol is designed with the long phase encoding along A-P (instead of R-L), so you don’t have to worry about aliasing artifacts. You should be able to use that protocol out of the box as well, although again, depending on your receive coil, you might want to boost your SNR (e.g. increase pixel size) if you find your MTR/MTsat maps are too noisy.
  • The DWI scans should also work fine, but again it depends on your coil. You might want to increase your pixel size if your DTI (or other diffusion metrics you will be using) maps are too noisy. Note that SNR in the DWI scans also strongly depend on your gradients (e.g., 80mT/m gives you lower TE than a 40mT/m system, and hence more SNR in the former case).
  • The ME-GRE scan will be the most difficult to get working because of the important ghosting related to the respiration.