Focal epileptogenic lesions

Handb Clin Neurol. 2013:111:493-510. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52891-9.00053-1.


The spectrum of focal epileptogenic lesions and their clinical manifestations in children differ substantially from those seen in adults. In adults, mesial temporal sclerosis is the common lesion in surgical series; but in children, MTS is uncommon, and when it does occur, it exists frequently as dual pathology. The most common lesions in pediatric epilepsy surgery candidates are malformations of cortical development, developmental tumors, or encephalomalacia from infarction, hypoxia, trauma, or infection. Careful analysis of the lesion characteristics on brain MRI is sufficiently predictive of pathology in most cases. Histopathological evaluation remains the gold standard for diagnosis of mass lesions. The electroclinical phenotype of epilepsy in adults is largely determined by the anatomical location of the lesion and its connectivity. In children, in addition to the location of the lesion, the age at onset of the lesion and the age at onset of epilepsy have a major impact on the electroclinical phenotype. Children with congenital or early acquired lesions may manifest with generalized features on EEG and seizure semiology. Experience from various centers has demonstrated that a subset of these children benefit from epilepsy surgery despite a generalized epilepsy phenotype. All children with medically refractory epilepsy and a focal lesion should undergo evaluation for potential epilepsy surgery irrespective of the EEG findings and seizure semiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications*
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / pathology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging