The purpose of this study was to introduce the use of three-dimensional (3D) surface MR imaging display for clinical use. Surface display was created using images acquired with T1 magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo (MPRAGE) in 24 cases of migrational defects, cortical dysplasia and prenatal asphyxia. Schizencephaly and cortical dysplasia were pathologically confirmed. The precise configurations of cortical abnormalities, and their relation to the adjacent gyri and sulci were demonstrated. The topography of schizencephalic clefts was clearly defined. The appearance of ulegyria was characteristic and it was sometimes possible to differentiate polymicrogyria from pachygyria.