Common Ultrasound Artifacts


Appearance: A region of hypo-intense signal often distal to high attenuation objects, such as bone.

Cause: Attenuation by objects superficial to the artifact.


Appearance: A region of hyper-intense signal often distal to low attenuation objects, such as uniform fluid-filled cavities.

Cause: Lack of attenuation by objects superficial to the artifact.


Appearance: Hyper-intense repeating signal.

Cause: Repeated reflections between two closely spaced objects.


Appearance: The image displays an incorrect location of an object.

Cause: Refraction due to variations in the speed of sound at the interface of the tissues causes displacement of the returning echoes.

Side-lobe energy emission

Appearance: Often manifests itself as an apparent signal which disappears when the transducer orientation is rotated.

Cause: Anatomy outside of the beam is mapped into the main beam.

Speed Artifact

Appearance: Abrupt mis-mapping of an object along the direction of the beam axis.

Cause: Variations of the speed of sound between beam projections.


Appearance: A second inverted object appears beyond a highly reflective surface.

Cause: Multiple beam reflections between the object and the highly reflective surface.

Twinkling Artifact

Appearance: In color Doppler imaging mode, a region appears as a rapidly changing mix of colors.

Cause: The presence of small strongly reflective objects within the Doppler study.


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