Functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed using a 1.5-tesla MR system to localize sensorimotor cortex. Six neurologically normal subjects were studied by means of axial gradient-echo images with a motor task and one or more sensory tasks: 1) electrical stimulation of the median nerve; 2) continuous brushing over the thenar region; and 3) pulsed flow of compressed air over the palm and digits. An increased MR signal was observed in or near the central sulcus, consistent with the location of primary sensory and motor cortex. Four patients were studied using echo planar imaging sequences and motor and sensory tasks. Three patients had focal refractory seizures secondary to a lesion impinging on sensorimotor cortex. Activation seen on functional MR imaging was coextensive with the location of the sensorimotor area determined by evoked potentials and electrical stimulation. Functional MR imaging provides a useful noninvasive method of localization and functional assessment of sensorimotor cortex.