Ninety seven cases of brain abscess, diagnosed between January 1984 and January 1996, are reviewed. The most common cause was direct spread of infection from neighbouring structures. Signs of increased intracranial pressure were present in most cases, and clinical signs of infection were seen in only 41 patients. The patients were grouped according to the treatment they received: Excision (n = 25), aspiration (n = 58), excision following aspiration (n = 14). The predominant strains were Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus sp. In 16 patients who were treated with antibiotics preoperatively, no bacteria was identified. The mortality rate was 6 %. The patients' discharge status from the hospital was good or moderate in 89.6 % of aspiration group and in 71.8 % of excision group. The discharge status from the hospital was bad in 7 of 13 patients who were unconscious preoperatively.