Spinal cord often is regarded as one of the last territories in the central nervous system where diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can be used to probe white matter architecture. This article reviews current progress in spinal cord DTI, starting with anatomic properties and technical challenges that make spinal cord DTI a difficult task. Several possibilities offered by advanced pulse sequences that might overcome the difficulties are addressed, with associated trade-offs and limitations. Potential clinical assistance also is discussed in various spinal cord pathologies, such as myelopathy due to external compression, spinal cord tumors, acute ischemia, traumatic injury, and so forth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging Clinics of North America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Geometric distortions
  • Spatial resolution
  • Spinal cord
  • White matter integrity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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