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Understanding Temporal Lobe Seizure -- Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on October 14, 2021

How Is a Temporal Lobe Seizure Diagnosed?

If someone has a seizure for the first time, if a seizure lasts longer than 2 to 3 minutes, or if multiple seizures occur one after the other, take them to the emergency room or call 911 immediately.

If a seizure disorder is suspected, the doctor will begin by taking a thorough medical history, including any birth trauma, serious head injury, medication usage, alcohol intake, or infections of the brain, such as encephalitis or meningitis.

Brain function can be analyzed with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, which detects the electrical signals that relay information from one brain cell to another. EEGs may show characteristic, abnormal patterns of a seizure if it occurs while the EEG is hooked up.

In addition, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs of the head can help rule out specific causes of seizures.

What Are the Treatments for Temporal Lobe Seizures?

Anticonvulsant medications may help reduce or eliminate recurrent seizures in some people. They include:

Temporal lobe seizures may be difficult to completely control with medication alone. It is not unusual for a person to have an occasional temporal lobe seizure despite taking the correct amount of medication.

Some people with temporal lobe seizures respond well to surgery that removes the abnormal part of the brain. This procedure is called a temporal lobectomy.

Also, the FDA approved a procedure called vagus nerve stimulation. A device is implanted under the collarbone that stimulates the left vagus nerve, resulting in an inhibition of seizures. 

Can I Prevent Temporal Lobe Seizures?

Seizures happen in girls and boys at an equal rate and are more common before the age of 15 and after age 65. For now, there is no way to screen for a seizure disorder before it develops.

Avoiding head injuries -- such as by wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle -- can lower the risk of head trauma that may lead to a seizure disorder.

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