In order to investigate functional topography of the hand somatosensory cortex in five patients with periRolandic tumors (four frontal lobes and one parietal lobe), we recorded somatosensory evoked fields (SEFs) using magnetoencephalography (MEG) after stimulation of the median nerve (MN) and the five digits. The results obtained were compared with those of five normal healthy subjects. In all five patients, SEFs following MN and digit stimulation showed the previously described respective N20m and N22m components of primary sensory response. Single dipole modeling was applied to determine the three dimensional cortical representations of the N20m and N22m components. The cortical representations of the hand were identical to those of normal subjects, arranging in an orderly somatotopic way from lateral inferior to medial superior in the sequence thumb, MN, index, middle, ring, and little fingers. This sensory homunculus was confirmed by cortical recording of the somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) at the time of surgery. Thus, we demonstrate that SEFs, recorded on MEG in conjunction with source localization techniques, are useful to non-invasively investigate the functional topography of the human hand somatosensory cortex in pathological conditions.
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