Intraoperative electrical stimulation of the motor cortex is a sensitive method for intraoperative mapping and monitoring of this region. Two different stimulation techniques have been established, the bipolar and monopolar techniques. Controversy exists regarding the most suitable method. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages and different electrophysiological backgrounds. The present study is a review of the electrophysiological basis of direct cortical electrical stimulation of the motor cortex. Both methods are discussed and their field of application is presented.