MRI Zipper Artifact

Zipper artifact is a type of artifact in MRI images that appears as a series of bright and dark stripes that run parallel to the phase-encoding direction. It is caused by a timing error in the gradient system that causes the gradient to switch on too early or too late, leading to phase errors in the acquired signals.

There can be a range of hardware and software problems that could contribute to the zipper artifact in MRI scans. One common factor is inadequate RF shielding within the scanner room, which could result from factors such as a door being left open, a faulty door seal, or interference from electrical equipment like a satellite monitor. Additionally, the zipper artifact could arise from faults in the MRI system itself or issues related to the mains electricity supply.

Effect on image: Zipper artifact is characterized by the presence of stripes or bands across the image that appear as bright and dark lines that resemble the teeth of a zipper. These stripes or bands can appear parallel or oblique to the imaging plane and can affect image quality and diagnostic accuracy.

Zipper artifact mri

Here are some strategies to minimize or avoid Zipper artifact :

  • Check door is closed, check door seal is intact, remove electrical equipment, check for blown bulbs in scanner room
  • Use MRI compatible monitoring equipment
  • Call engineer if no obvious solution is found
  • Regularly perform quality control tests to identify and address any issues with the scanner’s hardware.


  • Runge VM. Artifacts in Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Recognition and Correction. J Magn Reson Imaging. 1998;8(2):323-328.
  • Edelman RR, Hesselink JR, Zlatkin MB, Crues JV. Clinical Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2005.