Object: The goal of this study was to determine the somatotopical structure-function relationships of the primary motor cortex in individual patients by using functional magnetic resonance (fMR) imaging. This was done to assess whether there is a displacement of functional areas compared with anatomical landmarks in patients harboring brain tumors close to the central region, and to validate these findings with intraoperative cortical stimulation.
Methods: One hundred twenty hemispheres in 60 patients were studied by obtaining blood oxygen level-dependent fMR images in patients while they performed movements of the foot, hand, and face on both sides. There was a good correspondence between anatomical landmarks in the deep portion of the central sulcus on axial slices and the somatotopical organization of primary motor areas. Pixels activated during hand movements were centered on a small characteristic digitation; those activated during movements in the face and foot areas were located in the lower portion of the central sulcus (lateral to the hand area) and around the termination of the central sulcus, respectively. In diseased hemispheres, signal-intensity changes were still observed in the projection of the expected anatomical area. The fMR imaging data mapped intraoperative electrical stimulation in 92% of positive sites.
Conclusions: There was a high correspondence between the somatotopical anatomy and function in the central sulcus, which was similar in normal and diseased hemispheres. The fMR imaging and electrical stimulation data were highly concordant. These findings may enable the neurosurgeon to locate primary motor areas more easily during surgery.