Tonotopic cortical changes following stapes substitution in otosclerotic patients: A magnetoencephalographic study

Franca Tecchio, G. Bicciolo, E. De Campora, P. Pasqualetti, V. Pizzella, I. Indovina, E. Cassetta, G. L. Romani, P. M. Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the study was to investigate and follow up the tonotopic organization of the primary auditory cortex in otosclerotic patients before and after corrective surgery. The characteristics of primary auditory cortex activation were studied in ten otosclerotic patients (i.e., subjects suffering from a conductive hearing loss, prior to and following stapes substitution). Magnetoencephalographic recordings of auditory evoked fields by tone-burst stimulation at octave frequencies between 250 and 2000 Hz were performed during monaural stimulation. The brain topography of the main cortical response (N100m) generators at different tones was studied in patients and compared with ten healthy controls; prepost-surgical changes were also correlated to their clinical outcome following corrective surgery. A significant decrease of the tonotopic extension in the cortical region responsive to the four explored frequencies was found in patients before surgery with respect to the control population. At the time of postsurgical follow-up, the tonotopic representation had enlarged and was approaching the dimensions seen in normal subjects, although with higher variability. The extent of the enlargement of the postoperative tonotopically organized area was directly correlated with the postsurgery period duration. Our findings indicate that auditory cortical areas of human adults undergo functional reorganization following peripheral alteration of the sensory input entering the CNS. The restriction of the cortical tonotopic region caused by the long- term reduction of acoustic input is followed by a reorganization within the usual boundaries following the recovery of auditory function; this process is taking place in a time scale of a few weeks. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2000


  • AEF
  • Auditory system
  • Cerebral plasticity
  • MEG
  • Reversible plasticity
  • Surgical platinotomy and stapes substitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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