Artifacts in musculoskeletal magnetic resonance imaging: identification and correction

Skeletal Radiol. 2001 Apr;30(4):179-91. doi: 10.1007/s002560100341.


A large number of artifacts occur in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the musculoskeletal system. These artifacts may potentially affect the quality of MR images, and may also simulate pathologic conditions and produce pitfalls in interpretation. Motion artifacts may be periodic or random. Protocol-error artifacts include saturation, wraparound, radiofrequency (RF) interference, shading, and partial volume averaging artifacts. Truncation artifacts occur when the number of phase-encoding steps of high spatial frequencies is insufficient (or under-sampled) for faithful reproduction of the true anatomic detail of the original image. Chemical shift artifacts are due to the protons in fat being mismapped relative to water protons. Susceptibility artifacts occur at the interfaces of structures with different magnetic susceptibilities. Artifacts special to the musculoskeletal system include the magnic angle phenomenon and spurious signal induced at very short echo times, both of which affect anisotropic structures such as tendon, ligament, and cartilage. Recognition and, if possible, correction of these artifacts are an important aspect of practical musculoskeletal MR imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Motion
  • Musculoskeletal System / pathology*