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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2013 Aug;30(4):386-9. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e31829ddeb2.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation--may be useful as a preoperative screen of motor tract function.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Transcranial motor stimulation with noninvasive cortical surface stimulation, using a high-intensity magnetic field referred to as transcranial magnetic stimulation generally, is considered a nonpainful technique. In contrast, transcranial electric stimulation of the motor tracts typically cannot be done in unanesthesized patients. Intraoperative monitoring of motor tract function with transcranial electric stimulation is considered a standard practice in many institutions for patients during surgical procedures in which there is potential risk of motor tract impairment so that the risk of paraplegia or paraparesis can be reduced. Because transcranial electric stimulation cannot be typically done in the outpatient setting, transcranial magnetic stimulation may be able to provide a well-tolerated method for evaluation of the corticospinal motor tracts before surgery.


One hundred fifty-five patients aged 5 to 20 years were evaluated preoperatively with single-stimulation nonrepetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for preoperative assessment.


The presence of responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation reliably predicted the presence of responses to transcranial electric stimulation intraoperatively. No complications occurred during the testing, and findings were correlated to the clinical history and used in the setup of the surgical monitoring.

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