MRI plays a central role in the assessment of pediatric musculoskeletal soft tissue tumors. Although these neoplasms may initially be evaluated on other modalities, such as sonography, MRI is essential for accurately determining the extent of disease. Traditionally, MRI has been performed with sequences that provide excellent anatomic detail, with T1-weighted, fluid-sensitive, and static postcontrast T1-weighted sequences. However, with the introduction of noncontrast sequences such as diffusion-weighted imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to the arsenal of available MRI techniques, functional and metabolic features of a neoplasm can now be examined noninvasively. These more recent MRI methods offer information for lesion characterization, the assessment of treatment response, and the distinction of postoperative scar from recurrence. Dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion imaging is another useful functional technique that can be acquired before conventional static postcontrast imaging, without requiring additional contrast material. This review presents recent advances in MRI methodology that enable a comprehensive clinical assessment of musculoskeletal tumors in the pediatric population. The roles and challenges of combining anatomic, functional, and metabolic MRI sequences will be discussed as they relate to newly discovered soft tissue tumors in children.
- Accepted February 9, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics