If you are having a partial seizure, the disturbance in brain activity begins in or involves a distinct area of your brain. The nature of these seizures is usually determined by the function of the part of your brain that is involved. For example, if the motor cortex area of your brain is affected, then your arm or leg may jerk uncontrollably. Partial seizures are sometimes known as “focal.” There are basically three types of partial seizure: simple partial, complex partial, and partial seizures that develop into secondarily generalized seizures.
- In a simple partial seizure, your consciousness is not impaired, but either one limb (or part of a limb) will rhythmically twitch or you will experience unusual tastes or sensations, such as a feeling of “pins and needles,” in a distinct part of your body. If a simple partial seizure develops into another type of seizure, it is often called a “warning” or “aura.”
- Complex partial seizures differ from partial seizures in that your consciousness is affected. This type of seizure usually begins with a blank or empty stare, and your awareness changes, even though the seizure does not involve convulsions. You may fiddle with clothes or nearby objects, wander around, and generally be confused. This type of seizure usually lasts 2-4 minutes and involves the temporal lobes of the brain, but may also affect the frontal and parietal lobes.
- If either of these types of seizure spreads to involve the whole brain, your seizure is called a secondarily generalized seizure.