The purpose of this study is intra-operatively to localize the sensorimotor area by intrinsic optical method detecting the changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and cortical temperature following neuronal activity during median nerve stimulation. In 18 patients with brain tumors located around the sensorimotor cortex, cortical recording of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) was performed and localized changes in rCBF during median nerve stimulation were measured by a laser-Doppler flowmeter on the locations of SEPs and around the activation area obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In two patients, cortical thermomapping was also performed during median nerve stimulation. In fMRI study, the significant activation area of sensorimotor could be obtained in 17 of 18 patients. In cortical recording of SEPs, the polarity reversal of N20 and P20 was observed in 14 of the 18 patients. In 9 of the 14 patients in whom SEPs could be recorded, the localized changes in rCBF, corresponding to the stimulation, were detected in the N20 area. In 2 of the 4 patients in whom N20 could not be recorded successfully, the localized changes in rCBF could be detected. The increase in rCBF during the stimulation was 18.3% +/- 5.3% (mean +/- SD, n = 11). Thermomapping could demonstrate the localized area, where the increase in rCBF was also detected, by observation of the changes in cortical temperature during the stimulation. The intra-operative intrinsic optical method detecting rCBF and cortical temperature in combination with recording of SEPs may be considered useful for brain functional localization related to neurosurgical disorders.