Fifteen patients with clinical presentations compatible with idiopathic inflammatory orbital pseudotumor were examined by CT and MR imaging to determine if MR could add specificity to the CT appearance of this entity. MR was performed on a 1.5 T system, using surface-coil and head-coil techniques. Idiopathic pseudotumor was confirmed in nine patients on the basis of response to steroid therapy in the absence of local cause or systemic illness. One other patient had biopsy-proven idiopathic pseudotumor. Five patients proved to have other orbital entities, including metastases, infectious myositis, hemorrhage, and orbital sarcoid. In all 10 patients with confirmed pseudotumor, CT and MR were abnormal. MR abnormalities in 10 of 10 patients with pseudotumor were hypointense to fat and isointense to muscle on T1-weighted images. On T2-weighted images the lesions of pseudotumor were isointense or only minimally hyperintense to fat in nine of 10 cases; in one case, the enlarged muscle was markedly hyperintense to fat. The MR signal intensity of pseudotumor was similar to that found in infectious myositis and sarcoid. These findings contrasted to the MR appearance of the other disease entities examined. Metastases appeared markedly hyperintense to fat on T2-weighted images, while hematoma was hyperintense to muscle and isointense to fat on T1-weighted images and markedly hyperintense to fat on T2-weighted images. In our preliminary series, surface-coil MR appears to add specificity to the CT appearance of orbital pseudotumor.