As aggressive neurosurgery and adjuvant therapy have become standard care for most patients with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, limitations of posttreatment neuroimaging techniques have become more apparent. Interpretation of computed cranial tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with brain tumors is complicated by changes related to surgery, corticosteroids, radiation, and chemotherapy. We investigated the role of 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in these difficult diagnostic situations by obtaining FDG-PET scans in 5 patients following temporal lobectomy for epilepsy, in 5 patients with recurrent anaplastic gliomas before and after corticosteroid therapy, and in 5 patients after the development of histologically confirmed radionecrosis. We also obtained postoperative FDG-PET scans in 32 consecutive patients undergoing initial resection of a primary brain tumor. Our results indicate that glucose uptake as detected by FDG-PET scanning with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose is not increased in the postoperative period; is not affected by steroid therapy; and accurately predicts early recurrence of tumor, supplementing other predictors of tumor behavior, including extent of resection, histological diagnosis, and postoperative CT. Thus PET using [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose can contribute to the optimum management of patients with primary brain tumors.