Occult cerebral vascular malformations (OCVMs) have characteristic appearances on high-field magnetic resonance (MR) images. These consist of circumscribed regions of low intensity, most prominent on T2-weighted images and representing hemosiderin deposits. Interspersed within most of these lesions are multiple areas of various signal intensity patterns, which correspond to hematomas in different stages of evolution and to fibrous regions containing calcium as well as hemosiderin. Forty-six lesions were found in 19 patients (34 supratentorial and 12 infratentorial). The supratentorial lesions tended to be subcortical or periventricular. Computed tomography depicted 24 of the 46 lesions demonstrated by high-field MR. Comparison of images obtained with both low-field MR (0.12 T and 0.35 T) and high-field MR (1.5 T) revealed that high-field MR imaging was superior in depicting OCVMs. High-field MR appears to be both sensitive and specific for OCVMs and may obviate the need for possible biopsy of these lesions.