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Functional MRI Applications in Epilepsy Surgery

  • Craig A. Beers (a1) (a2) and Paolo Federico (a1) (a2)


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a non-invasive neuroimaging technique that has grown rapidly in popularity over the past decade. It is already prevalent in psychology, cognitive and basic neuroscience research and is being used increasingly as a tool for clinical decision-making in epilepsy. It has been used to determine language location and laterality in patients, sometimes eliminating the need for invasive tests. fMRI can been used pre-surgically to guide resection margins, preserving eloquent cortex. Other fMRI paradigms assessing memory, visual and somatosensory systems have limited clinical applications currently, but show great promise. Simultaneous recording of electroencephalogram (EEG) and fMRI has also provided insights into the networks underlying seizure generation and is increasingly being used in epilepsy centres. In this review, we present some of the current clinical applications for fMRI in the pre-surgical assessment of epilepsy patients, and examine a number of new techniques that may soon become clinically relevant.

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Corresponding author

Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Radiology, University of Calgary, Room C1214a, Foothills Medical Centre, 1403 29th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 2T9, Canada. Email:


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