BackgroundIn diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) using single-shot echo planar imaging (ss-EPI), both reduced field-of-view (FOV) excitation and sensitivity encoding (SENSE) alone can increase in-plane resolution to some degree. However, when the two techniques are combined to further increase resolution without pronounced geometric distortion, the resulted images are often corrupted by high level of noise and artifact due to the numerical restriction in SENSE. Hence, this study is aimed to provide a reconstruction method to deal with this problem.MethodsThe proposed reconstruction method was developed and implemented to deal with the high level of noise and artifact in the combination of reduced FOV imaging and traditional SENSE, in which all the imaging data were considered jointly by incorporating the motion induced phase variations among excitations. The in vivo human spine diffusion images from ten subjects were acquired at 1.5 T and reconstructed using the proposed method, and compared with SENSE magnitude average results for a range of reduction factors in reduced FOV. These images were evaluated by two radiologists using visual scores (considering distortion, noise and artifact levels) from 1 to 10.ResultsThe proposed method was able to reconstruct images with greatly reduced noise and artifact compared to SENSE magnitude average. The mean g-factors were maintained close to 1 along with enhanced signal-to-noise ratio efficiency. The image quality scores of the proposed method were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than SENSE magnitude average for all the evaluated reduction factors.ConclusionThe proposed method can improve the combination of SENSE and reduced FOV for high-resolution ss-EPI DWI with reduced noise and artifact.