Fifteen patients were observed between 1987 and 1990: there were six with angiographically confirmed vertebral artery dissection, and 9 with carotid artery dissection. Results showed concordance of MRI and angiographic findings, in all cases but one. The dissected portion consistently showed a semilunar hyperintensity narrowing the residual eccentric signal void of the lumen when the artery was not completely occluded. In one angiographically occluded vessel, MR detected a small signal void within the hyperintensity, indicating that the artery was not completely occluded. The length of the dissected portion was clearly demonstrated by MR. Follow up MR and angiographic studies confirmed the regression of the dissection, and also allowed examination of the cerebral parenchyma.