Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a well-established method for studying intrinsic connectivity and mapping the topography of functional networks in the human brain. In the clinical setting, rs-fMRI has been used to define functional topography, typically language and motor systems, in the context of preoperative planning for neurosurgery. Intraoperative mapping of critical speech and motor areas with electrocortical stimulation (ECS) remains standard practice, but preoperative noninvasive mapping has the potential to reduce operative time and provide functional localization when awake mapping is not feasible. Task-based fMRI has historically been used for this purpose, but it can be limited by the young age of the patient, cognitive impairment, poor cooperation, and need for sedation. Resting-state fMRI allows reliable analysis of all functional networks with a single study and is inherently independent of factors affecting task performance. In this review, the authors provide a summary of the theory and methods for resting-state network mapping. They provide case examples illustrating clinical implementation and discuss limitations of rs-fMRI and review available data regarding performance in comparison to ECS. Finally, they discuss novel opportunities for future clinical applications and prospects for rs-fMRI beyond mapping of regions to avoid during surgery but, instead, as a tool to guide novel network-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9656
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Functional mapping
  • Resting state


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