Fifteen patients with Wilson's disease were examined, using spin-echo (SE) and gradient-echo (GE) sequences with 0.5 T and 1.5 T magnetic resonance (MR) imagers. They fell into three groups: groups 1 and 2 were examined retrospectively after 3-18 years of treatment, while group 3 was examined prospectively from the start of treatment, after recommencement of treatment, or inadequate treatment. MRI was sensitive to changes in the basal ganglia at sites typical of Wilson's disease and was useful for documenting the effects of treatment. It was found necessary to estimate the relaxation times T1 and T2, to better assess improvement or transient worsening of the disease in the prospective group. Residual cavitation and gliosis could be distinguished in the retrospective group using a subtraction technique.