Forty-nine consecutive patients undergoing anteromedial temporal lobe resection for medically intractable temporal lobe seizures, and averaging 2 yr (range 6 mo to 4 yr) postoperative follow-up, were selected for a retrospective study. This study correlated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) derived hippocampal volumetrics, preoperative demographics, postoperative seizure control, and tissue analysis, including hippocampal CA (cornu ammonis) field neuronal, and glial cell counts, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) evidence for dentate sprouting and reorganization. These measures were compared in hippocampi with or without an adjacent presumptive epileptogenic temporal lobe mass. Mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) was defined as > 50% neuronal cell loss averaged across all CA fields with NPY (neuropeptide-y) and somatostatin reorganization. These patients may or may not include granule cell sprouting as determined by dynorphin staining. Patients were divided into two groups based on CA field neuronal cell counts, one averaging > 50% cell loss and one averaging < 50% cell loss. For the MTS group (N = 38), 89% had significant volumetric atrophy of the ipsilateral hippocampus, 74% had dentate reorganization, and complete seizure control was seen in 76% of these patients. In one subgroup of the < 50% cell loss group, patients with medial temporal lobe epilepsy caused by a mass in the medial temporal lobe (mass group) (N = 6), 33% demonstrated significant volumetric atrophy of the hippocampus ipsilateral to the mass, 0% had dentate sprouting, and seizures were completely controlled in 67%. For the second subgroup of the < 50% cell loss group, patients without mass lesions (N = 5) who were classified as the paradoxical medial temporal lobe epilepsy group (paradoxical group), 20% had ipsilateral hippocampal atrophy, 0% had dentate reorganization, and complete seizure control was seen in 60% of these patients. In conclusion, for the MTS group, hippocampal atrophy proven by MRI volumetrics was highly predictive of significant neuronal cell loss and an excellent indicator of success. However, in patients who had a foreign mass, hippocampal atrophy was not necessarily indicative of significant neuronal cell loss and MRI volumetrics was not a factor in the determination of a successful outcome. Furthermore, patients without mass lesions who have normal volumetrics but demonstrate hippocampal disease through invasive electrode monitoring, are likely to have paradoxical medial temporal lobe epilepsy, seizures beginning at a later age, and a lower, but not insignificant, success rate than the classical mesial temporal sclerosis group.