Although generally benign tumors, meningiomas may be associated with extensive peritumoral brain edema as seen on computed tomographic scans. Fifty-two patients with intracranial meningiomas were studied, and the hypodense areas on computed tomographic scans were related to the intraoperative microsurgical findings and to the sizes of the tumors. We have identified three kinds of tumor-brain interfaces characterized by different difficulties in microsurgical dissection: smooth type, transitional type, and invasive type. These different microsurgical interfaces seem to correlate very precisely with computed tomographic images of halo-like and finger-like hypodense areas, allowing prediction of the microsurgical effort to be made in the surgery of meningiomas. The size of the tumor seems to be important in our subjects in determining the amount of edema produced. Indeed, a positive correlation (P < 0.001) was found between the sizes of the tumors and the extent of peritumoral hypodensity. A positive correlation (P < 0.002) also has been found between grade of edema and cortical penetration. Cerebral cortex disruption was systematically observed by us in invasive-type meningiomas and in 3 of 21 cases (14.3%) in transitional-type meningiomas. No penetration was observed in smooth-type meningiomas.