Surgically ligated cortical veins in rabbits produced areas of hemorrhage and infarction. Pathological correlation with serial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of these surgically created lesions was obtained. Imaging within 4 hours after ligation showed the site of venous infarction to be a focus of low signal intensity on T1-weighted images (T1WI) within a larger overlapping area of high intensity on T2-weighted images (T2WI). The serial imaging showed persistence of T1WI and T2WI changes without alteration of pattern. At 3-day follow-up, both the T1WI and T2WI changes were maximal. At 7- and 14-day follow-up, T1WI and T2WI changes showed regression. There was no identifiable site of paramagnetic influence within the lesions produced. This lack of local paramagnetic effect may be related to the acuteness and minute size of the lesions, partial volume effects, and/or atmospheric exposure of the lesion related to the surgical procedure. Our preliminary results are encouraging not only for trying to image cortical venous infarction but also in trying to define the sensitivity of MRI for small cortical lesions.