The authors evaluated a recently developed sequence for magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. The three-dimensional, Fourier-transformed acquisitions require magnetization-prepared 180 degrees radio-frequency pulses and rapid gradient-echo (MP RAGE) sampling. The resulting T1-weighted images were compared with T1-weighted spin-echo (SE) images; both were obtained after paramagnetic contrast material was administered to 33 patients with known or suspected focal brain lesions. Image quality and contrast between gray and white matter were superior with the MP RAGE sequence compared with the T1-weighted SE sequence. The time for obtaining contiguous thin-section (1.3-2.5-mm) images was also comparable, with readily acquired multiplanar reformations obviating additional images. MP RAGE imaging depicted more focal lesions than did T1-weighted SE imaging and matched the number seen with T2-weighted SE imaging. Demonstration of paramagnetic contrast enhancement of lesions was comparable in most cases; however, three lesions showed greater enhancement on T1-weighted SE images and two others were seen only on the T1-weighted SE images. Thus, the MP RAGE sequence may provide an alternative to T1-weighted SE imaging.