Diffusion-weighted MR imaging of rim-enhancing brain masses: is markedly decreased water diffusion specific for brain abscess?

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Sep;177(3):709-12. doi: 10.2214/ajr.177.3.1770709.


Objective: This retrospective study investigated the specificity of restricted water diffusion for the diagnosis of brain abscess. Two of five rim-enhancing brain masses with restricted water diffusion (apparent diffusion coefficient of 0.79 [10(-3) mm(2)/sec] or less) were brain abscesses, but diagnoses in the other cases were metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (two cases) and radiation necrosis.

Conclusion: Although an important diagnostic sign, restricted water diffusion is not specific for brain abscess.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Abscess / diagnosis*
  • Brain Edema / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity