We performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using a high-field strength magnet (1.5 T) in two series of 53 patients with intractable partial epilepsy of frontal lobe or temporal lobe origin who subsequently received ablative surgery for their seizure disorder. In the first series of patients the pathologic correlation and prognostic importance of an MRI-identified lesion in the frontal lobe were assessed. Twenty-five percent of the patients with negative MRI studies and 67% of patients with neuroimaging abnormalities restricted to the frontal lobe, were seizure-free at a minimum duration of follow-up of 1 year. None of the patients with a multilobar MRI-detected abnormality was seizure-free postoperatively. In the second study the sensitivity and specificity of MRI-based hippocampal volumetry was determined in pediatric patients with partial epilepsy of temporal lobe origin unrelated to foreign-tissue pathology. Hippocampal formation atrophy in the epileptic temporal lobe was identified in 63% of patients. The sensitivity and specificity of hippocampal volumetry was 100% in patients with mesial temporal sclerosis. The presence of an MRI-detected epileptogenic lesion in the frontal lobe and hippocampal formation atrophy in the temporal lobe may correlate with the underlying pathology and affect the identification of potential candidates for epilepsy surgery.