Excellent spatial resolution is required to demonstrate the complex region of the wrist, with its diverse structures comprising bone, cartilage, and ligaments. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was done with a Magnetom imaging system operating at 1.0 T. Use of a flat surface coil enabled excellent spatial resolution and a section thickness of 4 mm. Twenty-nine patients with navicular nonunion or pseudarthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, recent fractures, soft-tissue alterations, and bone tumors were examined. All patients had undergone radiography and bone scintigraphy. In this limited sampling, MR was found to detect and characterize marrow and articular alterations more accurately, and earlier, than either of those modalities.