To study motor pathways to masticatory muscles, a new recording technique using surface electrodes was developed. The recording electrode was mounted on a spatula and inserted enorally into the pterygomandibular plica over the belly of m. masseter. Using this technique, mean latencies/amplitudes of the compound action potentials (CMAPs) in 18 healthy subjects were 1.2 ms/4.9 mV after electrical stimulation of the trigeminal nerve below the zygomatic arch, and 5.5 ms/1.1 mV after magnetic stimulation of the cortex. In 15 patients with unilateral lesions of the facial nerve, masticatory CMAPs had virtually symmetrical configuration, latency, and amplitude, excluding a major contribution of volume conducted activity from other cranial muscles. The technique was evaluated in patients after surgical treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Patients with retrogasserian thermocoagulation and central demyelinating lesions were consistently identified.