Epilepsy in schizencephaly: abnormal cortical organization studied by somatosensory evoked potentials

Epilepsia. 1992 May-Jun;33(3):487-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1992.tb01697.x.


Median nerve short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials (MN-SSEP) are recorded from the scalp to assess parietal lobe function and from the cortex to identify primary sensory and motor areas before epilepsy surgery. Nevertheless, the origins of many of the MN-SSEP waveforms and the reliability of this technique for localizing the central sulcus are not definitively known. We studied a child with a unilateral, closed, right parietal schizencephalic cleft and frequent simple partial seizures before the child underwent cortical resection. The sensory examination, neuroimaging, and electrical brain stimulation findings indicated a normal thalamus and an abnormal parietal lobe. Scalp-recorded MN-SSEPs showed intact widespread N18 potentials bilaterally, but absent right, although normal left parietal N20 and P27 waveforms. Cortically recorded MN-SSEPs could not localize the central sulcus owing to an absence of the expected negative potential over the right postcentral gyrus and the presence of waves with abnormal latencies over the precentral cortex. These findings suggest that: (a) the N18 potential probably originates at or below the level of the thalamus, (b) the N20 and P27 peaks are most likely generated by parietal cortex or white matter, and (c) cortically recorded MN-SSEPs can fail to localize the central sulcus before epilepsy surgery when congenital anomalies exist in the parietal lobe.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / abnormalities*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / abnormalities
  • Parietal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed