Applications of the Dixon technique in the evaluation of the musculoskeletal system

Abstract The acquisition of images with suppression of the fat signal is very useful in clinical practice and can be achieved in a variety of sequences. The Dixon technique, unlike other fat suppression techniques, allows the signal of fat to be suppressed in the postprocessing rather than during acquisition, as well as allowing the visualization of maps showing the distribution of water and fat. This review of the Dixon technique aims to illustrate the basic physical principles, to compare the technique with other magnetic resonance imaging sequences for fat suppression or fat quantification, and to describe its applications in the study of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Many variants of the Dixon technique have been developed, providing more consistent separation of the fat and water signals, as well as allowing correction for many confounding factors. It allows homogeneous fat suppression, being able to be acquired in combination with several other sequences, as well as with different weightings. The technique also makes it possible to obtain images with and without fat suppression from a single acquisition. In addition, the Dixon technique can be used as a quantitative method, allowing the proportion of tissue fat to be determined, and, in more updated versions, can quantify tissue iron.