The effect of extratemporal and temporal lobe cortical resection on children with intractable epilepsy is not well understood. We evaluated a comprehensive array of outcome variables in 33 consecutive children who received epilepsy surgery at 12 years of age or younger. Twenty-two (67%) children were seizure-free, three (9%) had a greater than 90% reduction in seizures, and four had no improvement. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) were not required in 10 (30%) children and were reduced in number in another 10. Six (29%) of 21 tested children had an improvement of greater than 10 points in Verbal or Performance IQ after surgery, while one (4%) had a decrease greater than 10 points in Verbal IQ. One mild hemiparesis and one inferior quadrantanopsia occurred; both were anticipated. We used the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ), a valid and reliable instrument for children, to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Six of 12 subscale scores of the CHQ were significantly lower in the surgical group compared with 410 age-matched control subjects. Parents were satisfied with surgical results in 28 (85%) cases. Pathologic tissue diagnosis and site of resection were not associated significantly with any outcome measure. We conclude that surgery eliminates seizures and reduces AED requirements in most children with intractable epilepsy selected by currently available methods. Further investigation is needed to establish the nature and significance of inferior scores in the surgical group in the HRQOL domains of physical function, general health, and self-esteem.