Postcraniotomy residual tumor is often determined by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Magnetic resonance changes that occur in the postoperative setting must be defined to ensure both the optimum timing of postoperative image acquisition and the accurate assessment of images for residual tumor. Postoperative changes in nontumor parenchyma have previously been described for computerized tomography but not for MR imaging. In the present study, 11 patients without intracranial neoplastic disease (six females and five males with a median age of 36 years) submitted to MR imaging 17 to 28 hours after undergoing temporal lobectomies for epilepsy. Four of the operations were performed with the patients under general anesthesia and seven under local anesthesia. Postoperative MR images (T1-weighted, T1-weighted gadolinium enhanced, and T2-weighted) were reviewed. Extraaxial fluid, air, or blood was present in all cases. Enhancement of the resection bed parenchyma occurred in seven (64%) of 11 patients. In three of the remaining four patients, assessment of parenchymal enhancement was obscured by extraaxial fluid collections. Dural enhancement occurred adjacent to the resection site in all of the cases and remotely in 73%. Eight (73%) of 11 patients displayed enhancement of the pia-arachnoid of the ipsilateral cerebral convexity, two (18%) of the contralateral convexity, and four (36%) of the pia-arachnoid overlying the cerebellum. Contrary to previous reports, contrast enhancement of nonneoplastic human brain parenchyma can occur postoperatively within 17 hours. Benign parenchymal contrast enhancement is usually linear in appearance; nonneoplastic dural and leptomeningeal enhancement can occur both adjacent to and distant from the surgical site. Extraaxial fluid collections can hinder MR evaluation of the resection bed.