Localizing and lateralizing features of auras and seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2011 Feb;20(2):160-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.08.034.


The symptomatology of auras and seizures is a reflection of activation of specific parts of the brain by the ictal discharge, the location and extent of which represent the symptomatogenic zone. The symptomatogenic zone is presumably, though not necessarily, in close proximity to the epileptogenic zone, the area responsible for seizure generation, the complete removal or disconnection of which is necessary for seizure freedom. Knowledge about the symptomatogenic zone in focal epilepsy is acquired through careful video/EEG monitoring and behavioral correlation of seizures and electrical stimulation studies. Ictal symptomatogy provides important lateralizing and/or localizing information in the presurgical assessment of epilepsy surgery candidates. As the initial symptoms of epileptic seizures, many types of auras have highly significant localizing or lateralizing value. Similarly, motor signs during focal and secondary generalized seizures, language manifestations, and autonomic features offer reliable clues to the delineation of the epileptogenic zone. Some focal epilepsies (e.g., neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy, insular lobe epilepsy, temporal-plus epilepsies, and parieto-occipital lobe epilepsy) generate seizure manifestations that mimic temporal lobe epilepsy, potentially contributing to surgical failure. To optimize surgical outcome, careful interpretation of ictal symptomatology in conjunction with other components of the presurgical evaluation is required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy / pathology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / surgery