Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE)

UW Health's comprehensive epilepsy program at UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, offers state-of-the-art care for patients with epilepsy or those suspected of having seizures.


About Temporary Lobe Epilepsy (TLE)

  • Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy.
  • Patients with temporary lobe epilepsy exhibit frequent pauses in behavior, often do not respond when spoken to, and perform repetitive movements such as smacking their lips and rubbing their hands together.
  • The most common type of seizures suffered by patients with TLE are complex partial seizures, which start in the temporal lobe and quickly involve other areas of the brain (called secondary generalization). Some people don't even realize they have had the initial seizures but may have gaps in memory. Secondary generalization, however, often results in grand mal seizures.
  • About 75 percent of patients also experience simple partial seizures, which are marked by an aura and causes the patient to lose awareness.

Treating Temporary Lobe Epilepsy

  • Most patients can control partial seizures with medication.
  • Adult patients have a wide variety of medication options, and the type of medication often depends whether the patient takes medication for other disorders.
  • Medication options for epileptic children is more limited as only a few medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, off-label use of medication wherein a physician prescribes medication that has not received FDA approval, is legal and ethical if that medication has proven to be effective in controlling seizures.
  • If medication fails to control seizures, some patients may be candidates for temporal lobectomy surgery, which removes a portion of the temporal lobe, vagus nerve stimulation or dietary treatments.