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Despite recent advances in neuroimaging, differentiation between cerebral abscesses and necrotic tumors with ringtype contrast enhancement can be puzzling at times. The introduction of advanced imaging techniques, such as diffusion-weighted imaging, has contributed to the identification of cerebral abscesses. However, differentiation may be impossible with imaging only. In this review the authors evaluate the role of proton magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy in differentiating betweendoi:10.3171/foc/2008/24/6/e7 pmid:18518752 fatcat:bo7gmdgai5cfjd3ye2nyupenmy