We evaluated the suspected soft-tissue masses of 33 patients using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Thirty-two masses were defined, of which ten were malignant and 22 were benign. Specific characteristics that would allow us to distinguish the benign lesions from the malignant ones could not be identified on MR imaging. Lesions located within muscles or in the intramuscular septa were best seen with T2-weighted imaging sequences; those located within the subcutaneous fat were best outlined with T1-weighted imaging sequences. Both imaging sequences were necessary to provide the complete representation of the extent of the mass. We performed comparison studies using computed tomography (CT) in 24 of the cases. Of 92 possible comparisons and in four categories MR imaging yielded results that were superior to those obtained by CT scanning in 30 instances, equaled the results obtained by CT scanning in 62 instances, but never yielded results inferior to those obtained by CT scanning. However, MR imaging failed to demonstrate soft-tissue calcification and soft-tissue gas in one case each.