We conducted a retrospective longitudinal self-controlled study of 124 adult patients treated with resective surgery for medically uncontrolled partial epilepsy from 1949 to 1988. Approximately 65% of the patients experienced > 95% reduction in seizure frequency, and 75% had worthwhile improvement of at least 75% seizure reduction. Significant reductions were noted in all major seizure types treatable with resective surgery; complex partial (CPS), simple partial (SPS), and secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTC) (all p < 0.05). Tissue pathology and region of resection did not provide significant information with respect to seizure outcome. EEG in the first postoperative year was an important predictor of long-term seizure outcome (p = 0.03). One third of the temporal lobe resected patients had neurologic deficits as a consequence of the resection as compared with 14% of patients with frontal resections (p = 0.03). One third of the deficits among the temporal lobe resected patients were considerable, with possible social implications. Half of the patients with preoperative focal spike activity had a normal EEG postoperatively. One fifth of patients maintained their preoperative epileptic focus after the operation, and about one fifth displayed new foci. Approximately one fourth of the patients were free of medication for a median of 16 years postoperatively, and 60% of patients who were seizure-free were still receiving medication. There was no operative mortality, but the late mortality, as expected, was higher than that of the general population. Two male patients (1.6%) committed suicide.