Retrospective comparison of motor and somatosensory MEG mapping—Considerations for better clinical applications

Rachel K. Spooner, Deepak Madhavan, Michele R. Aizenberg, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


While magnetoencephalography (MEG) has proven to be a valuable and reliable tool for presurgical functional mapping of eloquent cortices for at least two decades, widespread use of this technique by clinicians has remained elusive. This modest application may be attributable, at least in part, to misunderstandings regarding the success rate of such mapping procedures, as well as the primary sources contributing to mapping failures. To address this, we conducted a retrospective comparison of sensorimotor functional mapping success rates in 141 patients with epilepsy and 75 tumor patients from the Center for MEG in Omaha, NE. Neurosurgical candidates either completed motor mapping (i.e., finger tapping paradigm), somatosensory mapping (i.e., peripheral stimulation paradigm), or both motor and somatosensory protocols during MEG. All MEG data underwent subsequent time-domain averaging and source localization of left and right primary motor (M1) and somatosensory (S1) cortices was conducted using a single equivalent dipole model. Successful mapping was determined based on dipole goodness of fit metrics ∼ 95%, as well as an accurate and conceivable spatial correspondence to precentral and postcentral gyri for M1 and S1, respectively. Our results suggest that mapping M1 in epilepsy and tumor patients was on average 94.5% successful, when patients only completed motor mapping protocols. In contrast, mapping S1 was successful 45–100% of the time in these patient groups when they only completed somatosensory mapping paradigms. Importantly, Z-tests for independent proportions revealed that the percentage of successful S1 mappings significantly increased to ∼ 94% in epilepsy patients who completed both motor/somatosensory mapping protocols during MEG. Together, these data suggest that ordering more comprehensive mapping procedures (e.g., both motor and somatosensory protocols for a collective sensorimotor network) may substantially increase the accuracy of presurgical functional mapping by providing more extensive data from which to base interpretations. Moreover, clinicians and magnetoencephalographers should be considerate of the major contributors to mapping failures (i.e., low SNR, excessive motion and magnetic artifacts) in order to further increase the percentage of cases achieving successful mapping of eloquent cortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103045
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Epilepsy
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Postcentral gyrus
  • Precentral gyrus
  • Presurgical mapping
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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