How Much Does Motion Artifact Cost in Advanced Imaging Exams?


Artifact is a hurdle imaging departments avoid if possible and for good reason. Artifact could compromise a study, make an accurate diagnosis difficult to obtain, or create the appearance of a false positive. 

In a retrospective study, radiologists reviewed 192 clinical MRI examinations performed in a single week at their facility to better understand the revenue their hospital was missing out on by rescanning patients. 

They found that “significant motion artifacts were identified on sequences in 7.5% of outpatient and 29.4% of inpatient and/or emergency department MR examinations.” 

Lost revenue, increased radiation exposure  

Nearly 20% of the 192 exams were so affected by motion artifact that they needed to be repeated. For the hospital, this translated to $115,000 in lost revenue for that week in MRI alone.

Aside from hospital revenues, medical staff are generally focused on reducing a patient’s exposure to unnecessary radiation. 

Agnieszka Dziubinski, Manager of Medical Imaging at Manchester Memorial Hospital (Manchester, CT), explains why she is focused on reducing motion. “Our goal is to minimize exposure. We don’t want to have to repeat the exam. We do everything in our power to obtain the proper study without repeating the images.”

How Hospitals can Protect Patients and Revenues

Head scans are especially sensitive to motion artifact. Head movement in neuroperfusion studies greatly affects the interpreting physician’s ability to analyze acute ischemic stroke patients.

There’s a simple reason brain perfusion scans are susceptible to head movement. Many patients that undergo these studies have been diagnosed with (or are suspected of having) epilepsy, dementia, stroke, or suffered a recent head injury. Each of these patient types are susceptible to involuntary head movement.  

Reducing Head Motion Proactively

Motion artifact can be removed with software depending on how much it affects the image. In most instances medical staff will work with patients, educating them on the importance of remaining still, preemptively minimizing the chances of motion artifact.

More commonly, imaging departments utilize the aid of stabilization devices such as foam headrests, cradles, and straps to hold the head in place. But not all stabilization devices are created equal.

In a 2017 study, Nardi et al studied three methods of patient stabilization: foam headrest, foam headrest with head strap, and a head restraint helmet. Overall, they found that using some form of patient stabilization reduced the likelihood of a repeat exam by as much as 5%.

However, patient satisfaction was noticeably lower among patients who used the headrest with head strap. Agnieszka can understand their discomfort.

“[Head straps] are not soft and they’re not gentle. They’re thicker, hard, and they can irritate skin, especially on the forehead. For older patients we were avoiding them because of the potential of a skin tear. If we had to, we’d layer a sheet or something to avoid direct contact of the skin and the strap.”

Improved patient comfort and stabilization 

The iFIX patient stabilization system is designed to increase patient comfort while keeping patients in the required position. iFIX ensures stability of soft and hard tissue to avoid undesirable movements during procedure. The disposable iFIX Fleece hugs and contours to the patient anatomy and is held in place by the reusable iFIX anchors.

As demonstrated in the animation below the unique micro-anchors of iFIX Patches and Adapters strongly secure the fleece to ensure optimal patient stabilization thus minimizing motion artifact.

iFIX micro anchors

Great experience for staff and patients

“Overall our experience with iFIX is great,” says Agnieszka. “For the head it has been successful. I like it.”

She encourages her staff to use iFIX on all inpatients. “To be honest, they would rather use iFIX instead of repeating the exam. And I strongly support that. If they aren’t sure if that patient will be able to stay still, they will use iFIX. I would say we’ve definitely had less repeats and potential for repeats since we started using iFIX.”

The iFIX system is compatible with CT, MRI, and Ultrasound.

To learn more about iFIX, contact your Beekley Medical Business Development Manager at 1-800-233-5539 or email

Jonathan McCullough

Jonathan McCullough

Product Manager

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