Consistency of interictal and ictal onset localization using magnetoencephalography in patients with partial epilepsy

Lilly Tang, Mary Mantle, Paul Ferrari, Hagen Schiffbauer, Howard A. Rowley, Nicholas M. Barbaro, Mitchel S. Berger, Timothy P.L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial accuracy of interictal magnetoencephalography (MEG) in localizing the primary epileptogenic focus in comparison with alternative MEG-derived estimates such as ictal onset recording or sensory mapping of the periphery where seizures manifest. Methods. During this retrospective study of 12 patients with epilepsy who had undergone successful magnetic source (MS) imaging with the aid of a dual 37-channel biomagnetometer as well as simultaneous MEG/electroencephalography (EEG) recordings, ictal events were observed in five patients and quantitative comparisons of interictal spike and ictal seizure onset source localizations were made. In the eight patients who had presented with sensorimotor seizure, source localization of cortical sites concordant with seizure foci was determined using somatosensory functional mapping, and the results were quantitatively compared with interictal spike source localizations. Interictal spike sources demonstrated on MEG localized to the same region as the corresponding ictal event or somatosensory source localizations. The mean distance between the ictal foci and interictal spike sources was 1.1 ± 0.3 cm. Results of functional somatosensory mapping in patients with sensorimotor seizures demonstrated that seizure sources consistently colocalized with interictal MEG spike sources, with a mean distance of 1.5 ± 0.4 cm. No systematic directional bias was observed. Interictal sources tended to be tightly clustered, and the mean ellipsoid volume, defined by one standard deviation of the source spatial coordinates, was 1 cm3. Conclusions. Interictal spike localizations on MEG were concordant with ictal and, where relevant, functional somatosensory mapping localizations. These findings support the interpretation of interictal spikes on MEG as a useful and effective noninvasive method for localizing primary seizure foci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-845
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Epilepsy
  • Ictal spike
  • Interictal spike
  • Magnetic source imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Presurgical mapping
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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