Four observations illustrate the potential of MR imaging in the early depiction of multiple types of neuropathologic lesions which may coexist in the full-term newborn, upon severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). In particular, diffuse, postnatal involvement of cerebral cortex and subcortical white matter (WM) is demonstrated. Cortical hyperintensity on both proton-density- and T1-weighted images is probably related to cellular necrosis which is distributed diffusely or parasagittally. Hyperintense, frontal, subcortical WM edging on proton-density-weighted images results from the increase of water concentration, induced either by infarct or by edema. Diffuse WM areas of low intensity on T1-weighted images and of high intensity on T2-weighted images are presumably related to cytotoxic and/or vasogenic edema, proportional to the underlying damaged tissues. On follow-up MR examinations, several months later, the importance of cortical atrophy and of the myelination delay appeared related to the importance of the lesions detected during the postnatal period.