Topodiagnostic value of brain stem reflexes

Muscle Nerve. 1994 May;17(5):475-84. doi: 10.1002/mus.880170502.


The masseter and medial pterygoid stretch reflexes, the masseter inhibitory reflexes, and the blink reflexes are useful diagnostic tools for evaluation of brain stem disorders. The structures mediating these reflexes are largely known. Characteristic changes of the normal response patterns due to various lesions have been described. Distinct reflex abnormalities indicate lesions at specific sites. Multireflex testing improves the accuracy with which localization can be made. A number of lesions suspected on clinical data may be confirmed by reflex findings only and not by imaging studies. Reflex testing can be utilized to demonstrate multiple lesions evoked by a single vascular event and evaluate dissemination of central nervous involvement in multiple sclerosis patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blinking / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Masseter Muscle / physiology
  • Masseter Muscle / physiopathology
  • Pterygoid Muscles / physiology
  • Pterygoid Muscles / physiopathology
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Reflex, Abnormal / physiology*