BACKGROUND: The clinical characteristics of seizures in adults with localization-related epilepsy have been clearly described and classified. But few researches and data are available in childhood intractable epilepsy. METHODS: We analyzed 334 videotaped seizures from 41 pediatric patients who underwent epilepsy surgery at Dong San Medical Center between 1993 and 1997. Twenty- one of 41 patients had temporal lobe epilepsy, and the remaining 20 patients had extratemporal lobe epilepsy. We divided the patient sample into two groups : (a) those with total cases, (b) those with good outcome (seizure-free or more than 90% reduction of seizures after surgery). We compared temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with extratemporal lobe epilepsy (ETE) by clinical symptoms and initial ictal symptoms. In addition, we analyzed the lateralizing value of ictal dystonia, head turning, head deviation and automatism. RESULTS: The aura and head deviation of TLE and the motor arrest, head deviation and dystonic posture of ETE were observed more frequently in total group (P<0.05). In contrast, the vocalization and secondary generalization of TLE and the motor arrest, dystonic posture and dysarthria of ETE were observed more frequently in good outcome group (P<0.05). In cases of the initial ictal symptoms, the aura and hand automatism of TLE and the motor arrest and dystonic posture of ETE were observed more frequently in both groups (P<0.05). Of the ictal motor phenomena, ipsilateral hand automatism and contralateral dystonic posture were useful in lateralizing the seizure focus (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: The clinical ictal manifestations in children are very helpful to localize or lateralize the epileptic focus, like in adults case. Because of the lack of younger age group in our study, however, we suggest more rigorous studies based on more comprehensive data.