We selected 6 patients presenting with hemi-parkinsonism from a total of 20 patients with probable multiple system atrophy (MSA) and studied their nigrostriatal lesions using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-labeled 2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG). T2 weighted MR images demonstrated a decreased signal intensity in the putamen of all patients. This decreased signal was more intense in the nucleus contralateral to the affected body side in 5 patients. A decreased signal in the substantia nigra was found, expanding more on the contralateral side in 3 patients. T1-weighted images showed that the contralateral putamen was smaller in size than the ipsilateral. These findings indicated that the iron deposit and the neuronal cell loss in the degenerative process were more remarkable in the contralateral nuclei. FDG uptake in 5 patients had likewise declined more in the contralateral than in the ipsilateral putamen. The study shows that these patients have the nigrostriatal lesions as described in previous reports on MSA and that an asymmetric lesion relating to clinical signs is present in the nigrostriatal system. When a patient presents with hemi-parkinsonism alone, MR imaging and PET/FDG are useful for the clinical diagnosis of MSA.