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PURPOSE: To develop a postprocessing algorithm for multiecho chemical-shift encoded water-fat separation that estimates proton density fat fraction (PDFF) maps over the full dynamic range (0-100%) using multipeak fat modeling and multipoint search optimization. To assess its accuracy, reproducibility, and agreement with state-of-the-art complex-based methods, and to evaluate its robustness to artefacts in abdominal PDFF maps. METHODS: We introduce MAGO (MAGnitude-Only), a magnitude-based reconstruction that embodies multipeak liver fat spectral modeling and multipoint optimization, and which is compatible with asymmetric echo acquisitions. MAGO is assessed first for accuracy and reproducibility on publicly available phantom data. Then, MAGO is applied to N = 178 UK Biobank cases, in which its liver PDFF measures are compared using Bland-Altman analysis with those from a version of the hybrid iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least squares estimation (IDEAL) algorithm, LiverMultiScan IDEAL (LMS IDEAL, Perspectum Diagnostics Ltd, Oxford, UK). Finally, MAGO is tested on a succession of high field challenging cases for which LMS IDEAL generated artefacts in the PDFF maps. RESULTS: Phantom data showed accurate, reproducible MAGO PDFF values across manufacturers, field strengths, and acquisition protocols. Moreover, we report excellent agreement between MAGO and LMS IDEAL for 6-echo, 1.5 tesla human acquisitions (bias = -0.02% PDFF, 95% confidence interval = ±0.13% PDFF). When tested on 12-echo, 3 tesla cases from different manufacturers, MAGO was shown to be more robust to artefacts compared to LMS IDEAL. CONCLUSION: MAGO resolves the water-fat ambiguity over the entire fat fraction dynamic range without compromising accuracy, therefore enabling robust PDFF estimation where phase data is inaccessible or unreliable and complex-based and hybrid methods fail.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date





460 - 475


fat-water swap artefact, hepatic steatosis, magnitude-based water-fat separation, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, phase error, proton density fat fraction