A new method of intraoperative localisation of the primary motor cortex is described, based on the application of single anodal electric pulses to the brain surface. Patients were anaesthetised with propofol infusion, and neuromuscular blockade was temporarily alleviated to allow recording of surface EMG responses (CMAPs) to the stimuli. Primary motor areas could be localised in 18/19 patients studied. In the other patient, no responses were elicited, as the operative field was posterior to the motor cortex. When compared with MEPs elicited in awake patients by magnetic stimuli, responses to intraoperative anodal stimulation were of small amplitude (usually less than 10% of MEPs) and their latency was some 1 to 2 ms longer. One month after the operation, only 1/19 patients was left with a slight muscle weakness, although seven showed preoperative motor deficit. The procedure proved easy and fast, needing no preliminary surgery or time consuming preparation. It did not induce any detectable side effects.
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