Review Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 2, P187-195, April 2023

Current status of diffusion-weighted imaging in differentiating parotid tumors


      Recently, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is an essential magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol for head and neck imaging in clinical practice as it plays an important role in lesion detection, tumor extension evaluation, differential diagnosis, therapeutic effect prediction, therapy evaluation, and recurrence diagnosis. Especially in the parotid gland, several studies have already attempted to achieve accurate differentiation between benign and malignant tumors using DWI. A conventional single-shot echo-planar-based DWI is widely used for head and neck imaging, whereas advanced DWI sequences, such as intravoxel incoherent motion, diffusion kurtosis imaging, periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction, and readout-segmented echo-planar imaging (readout segmentation of long variable echo-trains), have been used to characterize parotid tumors. The mean apparent diffusion coefficient values are easily measured and useful for assessing cellularity and histological characteristics, whereas advanced image analyses, such as histogram analysis, texture analysis, and machine and deep learning, have been rapidly developed. Furthermore, a combination of DWI and other MRI protocols has reportedly improved the diagnostic accuracy of parotid tumors. This review article summarizes the current state of DWI in differentiating parotid tumors.


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