Electrical Stimulation Mapping of the Brain: Basic Principles and Emerging Alternatives

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The application of electrical stimulation mapping (ESM) of the brain for clinical use is approximating a century. Despite this long-standing history, the value of ESM for guiding surgical resections and sparing eloquent cortex is documented largely by small retrospective studies, and ESM protocols are largely inherited and lack standardization. Although models are imperfect and mechanisms are complex, the probabilistic causality of ESM has guaranteed its perpetuation into the 21st century. At present, electrical stimulation of cortical tissue is being revisited for network connectivity. In addition, noninvasive and passive mapping techniques are rapidly evolving to complement and potentially replace ESM in specific clinical situations. Lesional and epilepsy neurosurgery cases now offer different opportunities for multimodal functional assessments.

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