NTMS mapping of non-primary motor areas in brain tumour patients and healthy volunteers

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:407–416

Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) has been increasingly used for presurgical cortical mapping of the primary motor cortex (M1) but remains controversial for the evaluation of non-primary motor areas (NPMA). This study investigates clinical and neurophysiological parameters in brain tumour patients and healthy volunteers to decide whether singlepulse biphasic nTMS allows to reliably elicite MEP outside from M1 or not.

Materials and methods Twelve brain tumour patients and six healthy volunteers underwent M1 nTMS mapping. NPMA nTMS mapping followed using 120% and 150% M1 resting motor threshold (RMT) stimulation intensity. Spearman’s correlation analysis tested the association of clinical and neurophysiological parameters between M1 and NPMA mapping.

Results A total of 88.81% of nTMS stimulations in NPMA in patients/83.87% in healthy volunteers in patients/83.87% in healthy volunteers did not result in MEPs ≥ 50 μV. Positive nTMS mapping in NPMA correlated with higher stimulation intensity and larger M1 areas in patients (120% M1 RMT SI p = 0.005/150%M1 RMT SI p = 0.198).

Conclusion Our findings indicate that in case of positive nTMS mapping in NPMA, MEPs originate mostly from M1. For future studies, MEP parameters and TMS coil rotation should be studied closely to assess the risk for postoperative motor deterioration.