Implementing additional local shim coils into the head and neck surface coil may enhance the performance of EPI-based diffusion weighted imaging of the head/neck region at 3 Tesla. Thus, we evaluated single shot echo planar DWI and standard T1-weighted gradient echo acquisition without and with the use of additional local shim coils. In addition, apparent diffusion coefficients were quantified in specific anatomical regions. Local shim coils improved the homogeneity of the static magnetic field, resulting in marked improvement of image quality, signal loss, distortion and fat saturation. ADC values did not significantly differ between the measured anatomical compartments.