Functional anatomy of the human supplementary sensorimotor area: results of extraoperative electrical stimulation

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1994 Sep;91(3):179-93. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(94)90068-x.


Electrical stimulation studies have demonstrated that a "supplementary motor area" (SMA) exists in humans. However, its precise functional organization has not been well defined. We reviewed the extraoperative electrical stimulation studies of 15 patients with intractable epilepsy who were evaluated with chronically implanted interhemispheric subdural electrodes. SMA-type positive motor responses were elicited not only from the mesial portion of the superior frontal gyrus but also from its dorsal convexity, and from the paracentral lobule, cingulate gyrus, and precuneus. Sensory symptoms, that could not be attributed to stimulation of the primary sensory area, were elicited from the superior frontal and cingulate gyri in addition to the precuneus. Therefore, human SMA, as defined by electrical stimulation, is not always confined to the mesial portion of the superior frontal gyrus as described previously. It is also not strictly "motor" but "sensorimotor" in representation. We propose referring to this region as the "supplementary sensorimotor area" (SSMA). We observed a somatotopic organization within the SSMA with an order of lower extremity, upper extremity, and head from posterior to anterior. Sensory representation in an individual was either anterior or posterior to the positive motor representation but never both. There was a supplementary eye field within the head representation. A supplementary negative motor area was noted at the anterior aspect of the SSMA. No language area was demonstrated within the SSMA. The physiologic significance of the SSMA and functional consequences of its resection must be addressed in further studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Electric Stimulation* / instrumentation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Sensation / physiology*