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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To describe the detection of cortical areas and subcortical pathways involved in language observed in MRI activation studies and tractography in a 3T MRI scanner and to correlate the findings of these functional studies with direct intraoperative cortical and subcortical stimulation. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We present a series of 14 patients with focal brain tumors adjacent to eloquent brain areas. All patients underwent neuropsychological evaluation before and after surgery. All patients underwent MRI examination including structural sequences, perfusion imaging, spectroscopy, functional imaging to determine activation of motor and language areas, and 3D tractography. All patients underwent cortical mapping through cortical and subcortical stimulation during the operation to resect the tumor. Postoperative follow-up studies were done 24hours after surgery. RESULTS: The correlation of motor function and of the corticospinal tract determined by functional MRI and tractography with intraoperative mapping of cortical and subcortical motor areas was complete. The eloquent brain areas of language expression and reception were strongly correlated with intraoperative cortical mapping in all but two cases (a high grade infiltrating glioma and a low grade glioma located in the frontal lobe). 3D tractography identified the arcuate fasciculus, the lateral part of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, the subcallosal fasciculus, the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and the optic radiations, which made it possible to mark the limits of the resection. The correlation with the subcortical mapping of the anatomic arrangement of the fasciculi with respect to the lesions was complete. CONCLUSION: The best treatment for brain tumors is maximum resection without associated deficits, so high quality functional studies are necessary for preoperative planning.