Functional results after resective procedures involving the supplementary motor area

J Neurosurg. 1996 Oct;85(4):542-9. doi: 10.3171/jns.1996.85.4.0542.


In this article, the authors report their experience with surgically induced supplementary motor area (SMA) deficiency syndrome in a prospective clinical trial of 28 patients who underwent surgery for tumorous (19 patients) or nontumorous (nine patients) lesions. The dominant side was affected in 17 patients and the nondominant side in 11 patients. The primary presenting symptoms included seizure activity (23 patients), hemiparesis (four patients), and aphasia (one patient). Functional topographic mapping, achieved by phase reversal of somatosensory evoked potentials, allowed precise localization of the central sulcus in 25 of the 28 patients. Motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring, which was performed successfully in 13 of 15 cases during the resective procedure, showed no significant changes in the potentials in any patient. Immediately after surgery, 25 (89%) of the 28 patients displayed additional neurological deficits (aphasia and/or hemiparesis) that depended on the extent of the SMA resection. In 12 patients the SMA was resected completely: nine of these patients demonstrated a complete and three an incomplete deficit. In 16 patients the SMA resection was incomplete: 13 of these patients displayed an incomplete deficit, whereas three had no deficit. Neurological disorders resolved completely within 3 to 42 days (mean 11 days), except for a minimal disturbance of fine motor and/or speech function in complex tasks or at high speed. Electromagnetically elicited MEPs, examined postoperatively in five patients, were initially absent but recovered with improvement of motor function. In conclusion, although the SMA is known to control important functions such as initiation of motor activity or speech, our findings show that unilateral SMA removal can be accomplished without resulting in significant permanent deficits. Functional topographic mapping and monitoring facilitate the exact delineation of the adequate resection plane along the precentral sulcus, and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging allows precise correlation of clinical and anatomical data.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Motor Cortex / pathology
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Motor Cortex / surgery
  • Prognosis