Department of Neurology

Jacksonian Seizures

Q: Since having a craniotomy done for a vascular malformation, and associated hydrocephalus requiring shunting, I have developed intermittent Jacksonian seizures. These seizures are presently limited to my extremities. My question is, do these type of seizures usually remain simply as such, or develop into some more serious seizure activity?

A: The term, "Jacksonian seizures," is outdated, and refers to simple partial seizures with motor manifestations. These seizures occur in the motor area of the brain and cause jerking of a limb or limbs, often without loss of consciousness. In some individuals the seizure spreads and becomes generalized (involving all extremities, with loss of consiousness). At that point is considered a tonic-clonic seizure (also called a convulsion, or "Grand Mal" seizure).

Whether a person with simple partial seizures develops generalized seizures depends on the individual. Unfortunately, this cannot be predicted in advance.

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