Brain and spine MRI artifacts at 3Tesla

J Neuroradiol. 2009 May;36(2):74-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neurad.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Oct 5.


Introduction: We illustrate here the most common MRI artifacts found on routine 3T clinical neuroradiology that can simulate pathology and interfere with diagnosis.

Materials and methods: Our group has worked with a 3-T Magnetom Trio (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany) system for two years, with 50% of our time devoted to clinical work and 50% dedicated to research; 65% of the clinical time is dedicated to neuroradiology (2705 patients) and the remaining time to whole-body MRI. We have detected these artifacts during our case readings and have selected the most representative of each type to illustrate here.

Results: We have observed magnetic susceptibility artifacts (29%), pulsation artifacts (57%), homogeneity artifacts (3%), motion artifacts (6%), truncation artifacts (3%) and, finally, artifacts due to poor or inadequate technique in the examined region.

Conclusion: High-field imaging offers the benefit of a higher signal-to-noise ratio, thus making possible the options of a higher imaging matrix, thinner slices, the use of spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging in the routine clinical neuroradiology with a reduction in time spent. It is vital to be able to recognize these artifacts in everyday practice as they can mimic pathological appearances, thus causing diagnostic errors that could lead to unnecessary treatment. Indeed, most of these artifacts could be avoided with an adequate technique.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Spinal Canal / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*