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Selection criteria are the key to success in resective surgery for intractable epilepsy. Using such criteria about 50% of patients admitted for assessment are considered unsuitable, half of these for neurophysiological reasons or because there is evidence of more than one area of structural abnormality. Selection for a good result from temporal lobectomy can be judged, both on the proportion of positive pathological lesions in the resected temporal lobes and on a high degree of seizure relief together with a low incidence of side effects. The same holds for other resections. The relationship between these factors is reviewed.