To reveal the functional organization of the somatosensory area in the dysgenetic cortex, somatosensory-evoked potentials were examined in seven patients with congenital brain anomalies diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging, including six patients in whom multichannel recordings over the scalp were used. In four patients with polymicrogyria/pachygyria and two with lissencephaly, the early cortical responses, frontal P20 and parietal N20, were absent in the cortex contralateral to the stimulated side. The first cortical response was a positive wave that appeared predominantly over the centroparietal area in five patients, and in the frontal area in the other patient with polymicrogyria/pachygyria. These findings suggest that the differentiated somatosensory function is distributed normally in the centroparietal cortex in most cases of widespread cortical dysplasia. However, the absence of P20/N20 may indicate a hypoplastic central sulcus or functionally undifferentiated subdivision of the somatosensory cortex in these patients. The absence of cortical responses in the patient with holoprosencephaly may correspond with growth failure of the thalamocortical afferent projections in this disorder.