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Focal Seizures

Focal seizures take place when abnormal electrical brain function occurs in one or more areas of one side of the brain. The types of focal seizures are listed below. Click the thumbnail of the EEG images to view the full-sized image.

Simple-partial seizures

Simple-partial seizures typically last less than one minute. The child may show different symptoms depending upon which area of the brain is involved. If the abnormal electrical brain function is in the occipital lobe (the back part of the brain that is involved with vision), the child's sight may be altered. The child's muscles are commonly affected. The seizure activity is limited to an isolated muscle group, such as fingers or to larger muscles in the arms and legs. Consciousness is not lost in this type of seizure. The child may also experience sweating, nausea, or become pale.

EEG of simple-partial seizure

Complex-partial seizures

Complex-partieal seizures commonly occur in the temporal lobe of the brain, which is the area of the brain that controls emotion and memory function. These seizures usually last between one to two minutes. Consciousness is usually lost during these seizures and a variety of behaviors can occur in the child. These behaviors may range from gagging, lip smacking, running, screaming, crying, and/or laughing. The seizure may be followed by a postictal period.

EEG of complex-partial seizure - right side of the brain


Secondarily generalized seizures

Secondarily generalized seizures start as partial seizures, which are limited to one area of the brain. This phase is usually brief, and can sometimes not be detected. The seizure then spreads throughout the brain, becoming generalized. The convulsive phase usually lasts just a few minutes.

Learn more about the most common epilepsy syndromes we treat.

Last Update
July 2, 2012
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Last Update
July 2, 2012
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