Clinical manifestations of insular lobe seizures: a stereo-electroencephalographic study

Epilepsia. 2004 Sep;45(9):1079-90. doi: 10.1111/j.0013-9580.2004.68903.x.


Purpose: In this study, we report the clinical features of insular lobe seizures based on data from video and stereo-electroencephalographic (SEEG) ictal recordings and direct electric insular stimulation of the insular cortex performed in patients referred for presurgical evaluation of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

Methods: Since our first recordings of insular seizures, the insular cortex has been included as one of the targets of stereo-electroencephalographic (SEEG) electrode implantation in 50 consecutive patients with TLE whose seizures were suspected to originate from, or rapidly to propagate to, the perisylvian cortex. In six, a stereotyped sequence of ictal symptoms associated with intrainsular discharges could be identified.

Results: This ictal sequence occurred in full consciousness, beginning with a sensation of laryngeal constriction and paresthesiae, often unpleasant, affecting large cutaneous territories, most often at the onset of a complex partial seizure (five of the six patients). It was eventually followed by dysarthric speech and focal motor convulsive symptoms. The insular origin of these symptoms was supported by the data from functional cortical mapping of the insula by using direct cortical stimulations.

Conclusions: This sequence of ictal symptoms looks reliable enough to characterize insular lobe epileptic seizures (ILESs). Observation of this clinical sequence at the onset of seizures on video-EEG recordings in TLE patients strongly suggests that the seizure-onset zone is located not in the temporal but in the insular lobe; recording directly from the insular cortex should occur before making any decision regarding epilepsy surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / surgery
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / surgery
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / surgery
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Recording