Surface coil MRI combined with spatially localized spectroscopy was used to noninvasively detect 1H signals from metabolites within an intracerebral malignant glioma in rats. The MRS pulse sequence was based upon two‐dimensional ISIS, which restricted 1H signals to a column‐shaped volume, combined with one dimensional spectroscopic imaging, which further resolved the signals into 8 or 16 slices along the major axis of the column. All experiments were executed with adiabatic pulses which induced uniform spin excitation despite the inhomogeneous radiofrequency field distribution produced by the surface coil transmitter. Surface coil MRI and MRS experiments were performed on phantom samples, normal rat brains, and rat brains harboring malignant gliomas. Spatially resolved in vivo 1H spectra of intracerebral gliomas revealed significantly decreased concentrations of Nacetyl‐aspartate and creatine and increased lactic acid (or lipids) as compared to the contralateral hemisphere. These results demonstrate that metabolic abnormalities in intracerebral rat gliomas can be spatially resolved in a noninvasive manner using localized in vivo 1H MRS. © 1992 Academic Press, Inc.