The necessity for sphenoidal electrodes in the presurgical evaluation of temporal lobe epilepsy: pro position

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2003 Sep-Oct;20(5):299-304. doi: 10.1097/00004691-200309000-00001.


Whether sphenoidal electrodes should be used in the presurgical evaluation of people with refractory epilepsy has remained controversial. Many studies have been published touting their advantages, or conversely, their lack of benefit. The present paper reviews the evidence supporting the utility of sphenoidal electrodes. In principle, sphenoidal electrodes have an advantage over laterally placed scalp electrodes in detecting inferiorly directed mesial temporal discharges. Published studies demonstrate that sphenoidal electrodes are more sensitive than scalp electrodes and sometimes detect interictal spikes and seizures not seen with scalp electrodes. While the net added yield is relatively low, perhaps 5 to 10%, those patients in whom sphenoidal electrodes provide unique localizing information have much to gain. Sphenoidal electrodes may spare some patients unnecessary intracranial electrode investigation and permit surgery for others.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Brain Mapping
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrodes* / adverse effects
  • Electrodes* / economics
  • Electrodes* / history
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neurosurgery
  • Sensitivity and Specificity