Long repetition time (TR) spin-echo (SE) with T2- or proton density weighting is the sequence of choice to detect the brain lesions of multiple sclerosis (MS). Fast spin-echo (FSE) permits the generation of T2-weighted images with similar contrast to SE but in a fraction of the time. We compared the sensitivity of FSE and SE in the detection of the brain lesions of MS. Six patients with clinically definite MS underwent brain imaging with both dual echo (long TR, long and short echo time (TE) SE and dual echo FSE. The SE and FSE images were first reviewed independently and then compared. A total of 404 lesions was detected on SE and 398 on FSE. Slightly more periventricular lesions were detected using SE than FSE (145 vs 127), whereas more posterior cranial fossa lesions were detected by FSE (77 vs 57). With both SE and FSE the short TE images revealed more lesions than the long echo. These results suggest that FSE could replace SE as the long TR sequence of choice in the investigation of MS.