Brain abscess MRI

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Farwa Haideri [2]

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the diagnostic procedure of choice to diagnose a brain abscess.[1]


MRI scans appear more sensitive than CT for detecting cerebral edema and early changes correlated to a brain abscess. It can stage the abscess and gauge the response to therapy with more accuracy. Differentiating the central necrosis of brain abscess from other fluid accumulations is more precise with a MRI scan.

  • T1-weighted images are similar to CT, with a central hypodense signal and surrounding ring-enhancement.
  • T2-weighted images reveal a central hyperintense area surrounded by a well-defined hypointense capsule with surrounding edema.[2]

(Images courtesy of RadsWiki)


  1. Schlossberg, David (2008), Clinical Infectious Disease (1st ed.), New York, New York: Cambridge University Press
  2. Schlossberg, David (2008), Clinical Infectious Disease (1st ed.), New York, New York: Cambridge University Press

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