PURPOSE: To reveal clinical usefulness of functional MRI (fMRI) using sensorymotor and language stimuli for demonstrating anatomic relationship between sensorimotor or language cortices and lesions in the planning of brain tumor surgery. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study included 12 right-handed patients with brain tumors in or around sensorimotor or language cortices. Eleven patients were evaluated with primary motor and sensory stimuli. Of these patients, six patients were also evaluated with language stimuli. One patient was evaluated with language stimuli only. For fMR imaging, a 1.5T scanner was used and the EPI BOLD technique was employed. For postprocessing image, the SPM99 program and a program made by our department was utilized. We evaluated whether sensorimotor and language stimuli activate sensorimotor and language cortices. And also, clinical efficacy of revealing anatomic relationship between cerebral cortices and lesions for planning neurosurgical operation were evaluated. Finally, we compared post-operative neurologic function with pre-operative neurologic function in same patients. RESULTS: The fMRI examination was successful in identifying the functional cortices and depicting anatomic relationship between functional cortices and lesions in all patients. In nine patients of 11 patients with identified sensorimotor cortices, postoperative grade of manual motor test was not changed, compared with preoperative grade. Whereas postoperative improved than preoperative grade in one patient of remaining two patients, postoperative aggravated than preoperative grade in the other. This result was due to atherosclerotic lacunar infarction, regardless of tumor resection. Postoperative deficit of language function was not found in seven patients with identified language cortices. CONCLUSION: fMRI could be a helpful method for determining the best approach to neurosurgical treatment in patients with brain tumors in or around sensorimotor or language cortices.