Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Radiol. Sep 28, 2016; 8(9): 785-798
Published online Sep 28, 2016. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v8.i9.785
Diffusion weighted imaging: Technique and applications
Vinit Baliyan, Chandan J Das, Raju Sharma, Arun Kumar Gupta
Vinit Baliyan, Chandan J Das, Raju Sharma, Arun Kumar Gupta, Department of Radiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India
Author contributions: Baliyan V wrote the paper; Das CJ has designed and concepted the article; Sharma R and Gupta AK perfomed literarure search and manuscript reviewing.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Chandan J Das, MD, Department of Radiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India.
Telephone: +91-11-26593628 Fax: +91-11-26588663
Received: February 29, 2016
Peer-review started: March 9, 2016
First decision: May 13, 2016
Revised: July 24, 2016
Accepted: August 11, 2016
Article in press: August 15, 2016
Published online: September 28, 2016

Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) is a method of signal contrast generation based on the differences in Brownian motion. DWI is a method to evaluate the molecular function and micro-architecture of the human body. DWI signal contrast can be quantified by apparent diffusion coefficient maps and it acts as a tool for treatment response evaluation and assessment of disease progression. Ability to detect and quantify the anisotropy of diffusion leads to a new paradigm called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI is a tool for assessment of the organs with highly organised fibre structure. DWI forms an integral part of modern state-of-art magnetic resonance imaging and is indispensable in neuroimaging and oncology. DWI is a field that has been undergoing rapid technical evolution and its applications are increasing every day. This review article provides insights in to the evolution of DWI as a new imaging paradigm and provides a summary of current role of DWI in various disease processes.

Keywords: Diffusion weighted imaging, Diffusion tensor imaging, Onco-imaging, Neuro-imaging

Core tip: Diffusion weighted imaging has revolutionised the magnetic resonance imaging. There is wide use of this technique in neuroimaging, body imaging as well as in oncoimaging. This article reviews the current role of diffusion weighted imaging in medical imaging and highlights the current challenges and limitations to this technique.