Partial seizures often arise in the frontal lobes of the brain. Frontal lobectomy is the removal of a portion of a frontal lobe. It is the second most common type of epilepsy surgery, after temporal lobectomy.

The success rates for frontal lobectomy are not as good as those for temporal lobectomy:

  • After a frontal lobectomy, 30% to 50% of patients are free of seizures that impair consciousness or cause abnormal movements.
  • 20% to 40% of patients continue to have some complex partial or tonic-clonic seizures but they are reduced by at least 90%.
  • 20% to 30% of patients have no worthwhile improvement.
  • Although the results are not as good as with temporal lobectomy, at least 70% of patients who have had a frontal lobectomy enjoy a great improvement in seizure control. Most patients need to continue taking seizure medicines, but they may need to take less.

The frontal lobes are responsible for certain kinds of behavior, and patients who have a frontal lobectomy risk experiencing changes in this behavior. Some problems may have been present before surgery or as a result of seizures in that area. Behaviors that may be affected include:

  • Motivation, attention or concentration
  • Organization and other 'executive functions' 
  • Mood, impulse control
Authored by: Howard L. Weiner, MD | Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 8/2013