Diagnosis of brain abscess by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Report of two cases

J Neurosurg. 1997 Apr;86(4):708-13. doi: 10.3171/jns.1997.86.4.0708.


Two cases of brain abscess were diagnosed by combining magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The resonances observed in vivo were assigned by means of an in vitro MRS study of the exudates extracted during surgical aspiration of the abscesses. The technique of MRS was demonstrated to be very powerful in the differential diagnosis of brain abscesses from other brain pathologies such as neoplasms. Amino acids, probably originating from extracellular proteolysis, and other compounds, such as acetate, arising from bacterial metabolism, were visible in the MRS spectra of the abscess, whereas they are not present in spectra of neoplasms. In this sense, MRS complemented the information provided by MR imaging to achieve a correct diagnosis of brain abscesses and could be added to routine MR examinations with only a small increase in cost and time.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Abscess / diagnosis*
  • Brain Abscess / metabolism
  • Brain Abscess / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Exudates and Transudates / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male