Mirror Focus: Function of Seizure Frequency and Influence on Outcome After Surgery

R. Gilmore, H. Morris, P. C. Van Ness, W. Gilmore-Pollak, M. Estes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Summary: The concept of the mirror focus (MF) implies that an actively discharging epileptiform region may induce similar paroxysmal behavior in a homologous site. In a group of patients with complex partial seizures (CPS) we investigated whether occurrence of a MF was influenced by certain clinical factors and whether surgical out‐come was influenced by the presence of an MF. Factors studied included age at onset, duration, and total number of seizures. Patients had had CPS for >3 years and had pathologically proven temporal lobe neoplasms. Seizure frequency was estimated by the history‐taking physician. We estimated total seizure number by multiplying frequency by duration. Seven patients had MF, and 15 did not. Mean age at onset of seizures, duration of seizure disorder, and total seizure number did not vary statistically between the two groups of patients. All patients with an MF except 1 were seizure‐free at follow‐up. Ten of the 15 patients without MF were seizure‐free. Three patients who were not seizure‐free had had subtotal resection owing to tumor overlap with eloquent cortex. We conclude that an MF is not a contraindication to operation even when the preponderance of interictal spike activity is contralateral to the tumor or when seizures appear to arise from the MF on scalp EEG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-263
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1994


  • Complex partial seizures
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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