Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen presents greater inherent difficulties than other anatomic regions. However, new techniques now allow imaging comparable in quality to computed tomography (CT). Magnetic resonance imaging offers the advantages of greater tissue contrast, multiplanar imaging, and lack of ionizing radiation or risk of toxic reactions from iodinated contrast media. Its use remains limited by high cost, limited availability, lack of a bowel contrast agent, and long imaging time, which some patients cannot tolerate. In many areas of abdominal imaging, MRI is now comparable to CT, but because of the greater availability and lesser cost, CT remains the procedure of choice. Magnetic resonance imaging is more accurate for staging neoplasms of the liver, adrenal glands, kidneys, bladder, prostate, uterus, and cervix and may aid in diagnosis of hepatic, adrenal, and uterine masses. In selected patients, especially those in whom CT is inconclusive or those who cannot tolerate iodinated contrast material, MRI can provide valuable information. development of faster scanning techniques and MRI contrast agents and wider availability will probably increase the usefulness of abdominal MRI. At this time, MRI complements other abdominal imaging procedures. In a small number of patients, however, it can provide unique information in a virtually risk-free manner.