Temporal Lobe Seizure

What is a Temporal Lobe Seizure?

Temporal lobe seizures, a condition also known as temporal lobe epilepsy or TLE, occur when there is abnormal electrical activity in the temporal lobe area of the brain. This leads to a temporary change in sensation, autonomic function, and movement. Patients may experience a simple seizure, meaning they are still alert as it happens, or a complex seizure in which they lose consciousness.

TLE can start at any age and may stem from a brain injury or an infection like encephalitis or meningitis. Other times, the condition may be the result of a brain tumor or stroke. In some cases, there is no identifiable cause. In unknown instances, it is believed that the seizures are due to scar tissue present in the brain at birth.

What are the Symptoms of Temporal Lobe Seizure?

Before a temporal lobe seizure, there may be warning symptoms such as hallucinations, abnormal sensations, sudden and intense emotions, and vivid déjà vu. During a seizure, patients might experience:

  • Muscle contractions
  • Abnormal head and mouth movements
  • Repetitive movements
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Feeling of crawling flesh
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dilated pupils

It is common for people who experience temporal lobe seizures to be confused for several minutes afterwards. Depending on whether they were conscious at the time, they might not remember the event.

How is a Temporal Lobe Seizure Treated?

Several medications are available to treat temporal lobe seizures. In many cases, this is enough to manage the condition. However, there are times when this is not sufficient and the side effects become more troublesome than the seizures themselves. When medications are not effective, surgery is another option. With a 60 to 90 percent success rate, the procedure greatly reduces or even eliminates seizures for some people. It is important to remember that there are risks associated with the surgery, and it may lead to further neurological problems.

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Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
August 10, 2017