Numerous clinical studies on patients after hemispherectomy (HS) have provided clear evidence that two distinct groups can be recognized on the basis of the quality of their motor functions after operation. One of these consists of cases where HS was performed after normal brain maturation, the other of patients where the removed hemisphere was damaged early in life. The postoperative motor function has been found to be much better in the latter group. In the present paper it is demonstrated that in contrast to normal subjects ipsilateral compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) induced by magnetic stimulation of the one intact motor cortex are present in patients after HS. The amplitudes of ipsilateral CMAPs in the muscles roughly correlate with their individual residual motor capacities and show a proximo-distal gradient. In patients with early brain damage prior to HS, CMAPs had short latencies and large amplitudes, whereas in patients with later acquired brain damage prior to HS, CMAPs had long latencies and small amplitudes. It is suggested that reinforcement of the ipsilateral corticospinal pathway may be responsible for residual motor functions in patients with early brain damage, whereas in patients with later acquired brain damage cortico-reticulospinal pathways may play a dominant role in ipsilateral motor control.