Transient imaging abnormalities, including changes on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), may be seen in focal status epilepticus. The changes on DWI provide am insight into the pathophysiology. We report a 53-year-old man with focal motor status epilepticus involving the left hand, arm and face with focal slowing on EEG. The apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) were higher in the affected hemisphere than on the other side. At 10 days and 6 weeks after the end of the seizures, we saw normal ADCs and atrophy of the affected hemisphere. We conclude that the MRI findings indicate both cytotoxic and vasogenic oedema during seizure activity and subsequent loss of brain parenchyma.