A stereotactic method for image-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation validated with fMRI and motor-evoked potentials

Neuroimage. 2004 Apr;21(4):1805-17. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.12.006.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) delivers short magnetic pulses that penetrate the skull unattenuated, disrupting neural processing in a noninvasive, reversible way. To disrupt specific neural processes, coil placement over the proper site is critical. Therefore, a neural navigator (NeNa) was developed. NeNa is a frameless stereotactic device using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to guide TMS coil placement. To coregister the participant's head to his MRI, 3D cursors are moved to anatomical landmarks on a skin rendering of the participants MRI on a screen, and measured at the head with a position measurement device. A method is proposed to calculate a rigid body transformation that can coregister both sets of coordinates under realistic noise conditions. After coregistration, NeNa visualizes in real time where the device is located with respect to the head, brain structures, and activated areas, enabling precise placement of the TMS coil over a predefined target region. NeNa was validated by stimulating 5 x 5 positions around the 'motor hotspot' (thumb movement area), which was marked on the scalp guided by individual fMRI data, while recording motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) from the abductor pollicis brevis (APB). The distance between the center of gravity (CoG) of MEP responses and the location marked on the scalp overlying maximum fMRI activation was on average less then 5 mm. The present results demonstrate that NeNa is a reliable method for image-guided TMS coil placement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electromyography / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neuronavigation / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Thumb / innervation
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / therapeutic use*