The aim of the present study was to evaluate the usefulness of navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) as a prognostic predictor for upper-extremity motor functional recovery from postsurgical neurological deficits.
Preoperative and postoperative nTMS studies were prospectively applied in 14 patients (mean age 39 ± 12 years) who had intraparenchymal brain neoplasms located within or adjacent to the motor eloquent area in the cerebral hemisphere. Mapping by nTMS was done 3 times, i.e., before surgery, and 1 week and 3 weeks after surgery. To assess the response induced by nTMS, motor evoked potential (nTMS-MEP) was recorded using a surface electromyography electrode attached to the abductor pollicis brevis (APB). The cortical locations that elicited the largest electromyography response by nTMS were defined as hotspots. Hotspots for APB were confirmed as positive responsive sites by direct electrical stimulation (DES) during awake craniotomy. The distances between hotspots and lesions (DHS-L) were measured. Postoperative neurological deficits were assessed by manual muscle test and dynamometer. To validate the prognostic value of nTMS in recovery from upper-extremity paresis, the following were investigated: 1) the correlation between DHS-L and the serial grip strength change, and 2) the correlation between positive nTMS-MEP at 1 week after surgery and the serial grip strength change.
From the presurgical nTMS study, MEPs from targeted muscles were identified in 13 cases from affected hemispheres. In one case, MEP was not evoked due to a huge tumor. Among 9 cases from which intraoperative DES mapping for hand motor area was available, hotspots for APB identified by nTMS were concordant with DES-positive sites. Compared with the adjacent group (DHS-L < 10 mm, n = 6), the nonadjacent group (DHS-L ≥ 10 mm, n = 7) showed significantly better recovery of grip strength at 3 months after surgery (p < 0.01). There were correlations between DHS-L and recovery of grip strength at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 3 months after surgery (r = 0.74, 0.68, and 0.65, respectively). Postsurgical nTMS was accomplished in 13 patients. In 9 of 13 cases, nTMS-MEP from APB muscle was positive at 1 week after surgery. Excluding the case in which nTMS-MEP was negative from the presurgical nTMS study, recoveries in grip strength were compared between 2 groups, in which nTMS-MEP at 1 week after surgery was positive (n = 9) or negative (n = 3). Significant differences were observed between the 2 groups at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 3 months after surgery (p < 0.01). Positive nTMS-MEP at 1 week after surgery correlated well with the motor recovery at 1 week, 3 weeks, and 3 months after surgery (r = 0.87, 0.88, and 0.77, respectively).
Navigated TMS is a useful tool for identifying motor eloquent areas. The results of the present study have demonstrated the predictive value of nTMS in upper-extremity motor function recovery from postsurgical neurological deficits. The longer DHS-L and positive nTMS-MEP at 1 week after surgery have prognostic values of better recovery from postsurgical neurological deficits.