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Epilepsia. 2005 May;46(5):688-95.

Occipital lobe epilepsy: clinical characteristics, surgical outcome, and role of diagnostic modalities.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.



To assess the role of various diagnostic modalities, to identify surgical prognostic factors and concordances with presurgical evaluations, and to characterize the clinical features of occipital lobe epilepsy (OLE), we studied 26 patients who were diagnosed as having OLE and underwent epilepsy surgery.


Diagnoses were established by standard presurgical evaluations, which included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), ictal single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), scalp video-EEG monitoring, and intracranial EEG monitoring. After epilepsy surgery, patients were followed up for >2 years.


Sixteen (61.5%) of the 26 became seizure free after surgery, and another eight patients had a favorable outcome. Sixteen of the 26 patients experienced a type of visual aura (i.e., visual hallucination, visual illusion, blindness, or a field defect). Nine patients had both automotor seizures and secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures at different times. Interictal EEG showed correctly localizing spikes in 10 of the 16 patients who became seizure free, and in three of the 10 non-seizure-free patients. MRI correctly localized the lesion in seven of these 16 seizure-free patients, and in three of the 10 non-seizure-free patients. FDG-PET correctly localized the lesion in eight of the 16 seizure-free patients, and in three of nine non-seizure-free patients. Ictal SPECT was performed in 19 patients and correctly localized the lesion in only three of 12 seizure-free patients, and in four of seven non-seizure-free patients. Ictal EEG correctly localized the lesion in 13 of the 16 seizure-free patients, and in five of the 10 non-seizure-free patients. No significant relation was found between the diagnostic accuracy of any modality and surgical outcome. The localizations of epileptogenic zones by these different diagnostic methods were complementary. The concordance of three or more modalities was significantly observed in seizure-free patients (p = 0.042). However, no definite relation was observed between the presence of lateralizing clinical seizure manifestation and surgical outcome (p = 0.108).


Some specific auras indicated an occipital epilepsy onset. Various diagnostic methods can be useful to diagnose OLE, and a greater concordance between presurgical evaluation modalities indicates a better surgical outcome.

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