Eight children with clinical and radiologic abnormalities consistent with periventricular leukomalacia were investigated with MR imaging of the brain that employed both inversion-recovery and T2-weighted spin-echo imaging sequences. The more precise delineation of white and gray matter on inversion-recovery images as compared with CT allows a detailed demonstration of the anatomic features of periventricular leukomalacia; specifically, a reduced quantity of white matter in the periventricular region and centrum semiovale and, in more severe cases, cavitated infarcts that replace the immediate periventricular white matter. The T2-weighted spin-echo and short inversion time inversion-recovery images demonstrated abnormally increased signal in white matter that appeared normal on CT scans and only minimally abnormal on conventional inversion-recovery images. These abnormalities most probably represent white matter gliosis that extends beyond the immediate periventricular regions. MR recognition of cerebral white matter abnormalities associated with periventricular leukomalacia may confirm the clinical suspicion of this diagnosis in children with spastic diplegia or quadriplegia.