Zero echo time imaging

Last revised by Marina Nogueras Nogueras on 17 Jan 2023

Zero echo time (ZTE) imaging is a relatively recent development in MR technology, with the aim to better visualize tissues such as bone with the shortest T2 values. 


In ZTE, the signal is acquired immediately after applying the radiofrequency pulse resulting in near-zero echo times. After initial data readout gradient spoiling, adjustment and settling is rapidly performed, followed by the next radiofrequency pulse with very short repetition times 1,2

Practical points

ZTE is currently primarily used in some musculoskeletal imaging protocols such as those of the shoulder, and in some cases may obviate the need for e.g. CT imaging for detailed depiction of bony anatomy. Preliminary results also show superior depiction of lung tissue compared to standard MRI sequences. Note, however, that despite recent improvements, the spatial resolution of ZTE is still inferior to CT 1,3.

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