Twenty-six patients with orbital fractures diagnosed with plain radiography and computed tomography were examined with surface coil magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Fifteen patients had blow-out fractures, and 11 had maxillofacial complex fractures. In all patients with blow-out fractures, the location of the fracture was precisely indicated by the presence of prolapsed orbital fat. Incarceration of the extraocular muscle or orbital fat was correctly diagnosed with MR imaging, which was less sensitive in depicting maxillofacial fractures but was useful in assessment of soft-tissue involvement. Postoperative follow-up MR studies provided valuable information about the cause of motility impairment. While T1-weighted images are useful for the detection of the fracture site, both T1- and T2-weighted images are usually necessary for evaluating soft-tissue lesions. The results of this study indicate that surface coil MR imaging is an important adjunct procedure in the diagnosis and treatment of orbital fractures.