John Libbey Eurotext

Frontal lobe epilepsy Volume 6, issue 4, December 2004


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Dept. of Neurology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA ; Dept. of Neurology, University of Münster, Germany

Frontal lobe epilepsy accounts for only 10‐20% of the patients in surgical series, but the incidence in non‐surgical patient cohorts seems to be much higher. The typical clinical presentation of the seizures includes contralateral clonic movements, uni‐ or bilateral tonic motor activity as well as complex automatism. The yield of surface EEG may be limited due to the difficulty in detection of mesial or basal foci, and the patient may be misdiagnosed as having non‐epileptic events. In addition, in patients with mesial frontal foci the epileptiform discharges may be mislateralized (“paradoxical lateralization”). Therefore, epilepsy surgery has been commonly considered as less promising in patients with frontal lobe epilepsy. However, the advent of sophisticated neuroimaging techniques, particularly MRI with epilepsy‐specific sequences, has made it possible to delineate the epileptogenic lesion and detect a specific etiology, in an increasing number of patients. Thus, the success rate of epilepsy surgery in frontal lobe epilepsy is currently comparable to temporal lobe epilepsy, if the candidates are carefully selected. Patients with frontal lobe epilepsy who do not respond to anticonvulsive medication, and who are not eligible for epilepsy surgery may benefit from alternative approaches such as electrical brain stimulation.