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MRI Artifacts

By, Dr. Shravani

Introduction :
Artifacts are parts of reconstructed images that are not present in the true anatomy. • Artifacts are dependent on a variety of factors from patient movement to magnetic field in homogeneities. • Artifacts can lead to misdiagnosis if they are not recognized and/or removed. • Ideally, we want all image artifacts to be below the level of user's perception.

Sources :
•Hardware Issues e.g. calibration, power stability
•Software problems e.g. programming errors •Physiological phenomena e.g. blood flow •Physics limitations e.g. Gibbs and susceptibility

Types of Artifacts
•Chemical Shift Artifact •Aliasing •Truncation Artifact •Zipper Artifact •Motion Artifacts (Phase direction) •Field in homogeneity •Slice-overlap Artifact •RF Overflow Artifact •Eddy Current Artifacts

still produces a signal if it is in close proximity to the receiver coil.Aliasing (or) Wrap around •Artifact produced when anatomy that exists outside the field of vision is mapped inside the field of vision. •Also called WRAP AROUND.e. the signal is mismapped into pixels within the FOV rather than outside. it must be allocated a pixel position. . •Anatomy outside selected FOV. as the anatomy outside the FOV is folded into the selected FOV. •Occurs along both the frequency and phase axis. •Data from the signal must be encoded . i. •If the data is under sampled.

Aliasing (or)Wrap-around .

•Swapping phase and frequency direction so phase is in the narrower direction. . •Use surface coil so no signal detected outside of FOV.Correction: •Increase the FOV (decreases resolution). •Oversampling the data in the frequency direction (standard) and increasing phase steps in the phaseencoded direction – phase compensation (time or SNR penalty).

•Chemical shift artifacts on clinical MR images manifest most prominently at fat-water interfaces such as those in the bladder and the periorbital regions .Chemical Misregistration Artifact •Protons in fat and water inherently precess at different frequencies in an applied magnetic field. •Since the resonance frequencies of fat and water are used to encode their spatial locations. . the chemical shift differences lead to spatial misregistration of the MR signal. and the separation between their resonance frequencies increases with increasing field strength.

Remedy : •By Scanning at lower field strengths and by keeping FOV to a minimum. . •Using widest receive bandwidth in keeping with good SNR and the smallest FOV possible.

.2ms Arrow shows Chemical misregistration artifact.Coronal T1 weighted gradient echo images of the posterior abdomen acquired on 1.5 T system.8ms Right acquired with TE of 4. Left acquired with TE of 2.

. (a) Axial T1-weighted image of the brain shows the propagation of chemical shift artifact (arrows) along the frequency encoding axis.weighted image obtained with use of a higher bandwidth sampling rate and with acquisition time increased to allow a relatively constant SNR shows reduction of the chemical shift artifact. (b) Axial T1. in the anteroposterior direction.Chemical shift artifact resulting from the presence of subcutaneous scalp fat.

•Axial T2 weighted images of the abdomen •Using a receive bandwidth of 32000 Hz (above) •Using a receive bandwidth of 8000 Hz (below) •The arrow shows the chemical shift artifact at the border of the left kidney .

•Due to Low signal of CSF and high signal from Spinal cord. (Gibbs artifact) •Occurs only in Phase direction only.Truncation Artifact •Results from under sampling of data. •Common site for this kind of artifact is T1 sagittal imaging of Cervical spine. •Interfaces of high and low signals are incorrectly represented on the Image. .

•Produces a low intensity band running through a high intensity area. Remedy •Under sampling of data must be avoided. •Increase the number of phase encoding steps •Using 256 X 256 matrix instead of 256 x 128. .


•More prominent in gradient echo sequences as the gradient reversal cannot compensate for the phase difference at the interface. Causes dephasing at the interface of these tissues and a signal loss. •Due to Metal and Iron content of hemorrhage as these magnetize to much greater than surrounding tissues.Magnetic Susceptibility Artifact •Ability of a substance to be magnetized. resulting in difference in precessional frequency and phase. •Some tissues magnetize to different degrees than others. .


Magnetic susceptibility artifact from screws degrades the image. .Sagittal gradient echo sequence of the knee.

•Caused by extraneous RF entering the room at a certain frequency and interfering with the inherently weak signal coming from the patient.Zipper Artifact •Appears as a dense line on the image at a specific point. . Remedy •To locate the leak and repair it. •Caused by a leak in the RF shielding of the room.

Zipper Artifacts .

•Patient not touching the coil at any point. •Due to uneven excitation of nuclei with in the patient due to RF pulses applied at flip angles other than 90 and 180 degrees. •Caused by abnormal loading on the coil or by coupling of the coil at one point. who touches one side of the body coil and couples it at that point. .•Shading is an artifact which produces a loss of signal intensity in one part of image. Shading Artifact Remedy •Ensure coil is loaded correctly. •Occurs with large patient.

Ghosting and Smearing Ghosting and smearing. have long plagued clinical MR imaging. •from bowel peristalsis during abdominal and pelvic imaging. motion-related artifacts may result from •esophageal contraction and vascular pulsation during head and neck imaging. . • respiration and cardiac activity during thoracic. common artifacts produced by voluntary or involuntary motion of the patient.

Motion-related artifacts typically are propagated in the phase encoding direction—in b. along the horizontal axis. .Axial T1-weighted MR images without (a) and with (b) a significant ghosting artifact due to patient motion.

which was obtained with an impressive reduction in acquisition time (2 minutes 22seconds.Comparison of axial T2-weighted spin-echo (a) and fast spin echo (b) MR images of the brain at the level of the pons shows higher spatial resolution in b. compared with 12 minutes 48 seconds for a). The higher signal intensity of per orbital fat in b is an effect of J coupling and other factors. .

Axial images of the Chest Without ECG gating (above) With ECG gating (below) Anatomical detail of heart is demonstrated clearly on gated image .

Axial T1 weighted images of the abdomen With out respiratory compensation (above) With respiratory compensation (below) The ghosting arrow has been reduced on the lower image. .

L4-5 and L5-S1. The level acquired second will include spins that have already been saturated.. . e.g. • Example: Two groups of non-parallel slices in the same sequence. multi-slice acquisition.Slice-overlap (cross-slice) Artifacts • Loss of signal seen in an image from a multiangle.

Slice-overlap (cross-slice) Artifacts .

Slice-overlap Artifacts .

• Use small flip angle. • Use separate acquisitions. i.e.Slice-overlap Artifacts • Correction: • Avoid steep change in angle between slice groups. GE sequence .

• Typically would use 3mm slices for cranial nerves and 510mm slices for liver. only that structures signal intensity is displayed on the image. • If the slice is the same thickness or thinner than the small structure.Partial Volume Effect • Partial volume occurs if slice thickness > thickness of tissue of interest • If small structure is entirely contained within the slice thickness along with other tissue of differing signal intensities then the resulting signal displayed on the image is a combination of these two intensities. This reduces contrast of the small structure. .


• Implants absorb RF energy. • RF problems affect SE sequences as well as GE. .Metallic Artifacts • Similar to susceptibility artifacts. • Metals have much higher susceptibility than tissue. so local field varies. • Large Bo in homogeneities around object causing signal loss and distortion.

In gradient-echo image with ± 62.5 kHz receive bandwidth (A) and spin-echo image with ± 16 kHz receive bandwidth (B). A and B. solid arrows show signal loss that can be due to dephasing or from signal being shifted away from region.Examples of artifacts due to presence of stainless steel screws in healthy 37-year-old man. and dashed arrows show signal pile-up. . which can be combination of in-plane and through-slice displacement of signal from multiple locations to one location. Dotted arrow in B shows geometric distortion of femoral condoyle.

Common Artifacts in MRI Due to Presence of Metallic Implants .

interleaving slices and optimized (but longer) rf pulses. of adjacent slices causing reduction in signal over entire image.Cross-talk Artifact • Result of imperfect slice excitation. i. • May be reduced by using gap. . nonrectangular.e.

Cross-talk Artifact .

Field inhomogeneity • • • • Types: Main magnetic field RF coil inhomogeneity Dielectric effects – worst at 3T+ • May cause variation in intensity across image • May cause non-uniform fat suppression .

Field inhomogeneity – Bo .

Field inhomogeneity.Dielectric .

surface coil.Field inhomogeneity • Coil – Use volume vs. software compensation . allow space between coil and body. • Dielectric – use phased array coils.

washed-out appearance to an image.RF Overflow Artifacts (Clipping) • Causes a nonuniform. . • Autoprescanning usually adjusts the receiver gain to prevent this from occurring. • Occurs when the signal received from the amplifier exceeds the dynamic range the analog-to-digital converter causing clipping.

RF Overflow Artifacts .

Eddy Current Artifacts • Varying magnetic field from gradients can induce electrical currents in conductors such as the cryostat causing distortion of the gradient waveforms. . rapidly changing gradients. • Particularly a problem with echo-planar imaging that uses strong.

Eddy Current Artifacts Image courtesy of .mr-tip.




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