Although previous studies have investigated the sensitivity of electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to detect spikes by comparing simultaneous recordings, there are no published reports that focus on the relationship between spike dipole orientation or sensitivity of scalp EEG/MEG and the "gold standard" of intracranial recording (stereotactic EEG). We evaluated two patients with focal epilepsy; one with lateral temporal focus and the other with insular focus. Two MEG recordings were performed for both patients, each recorded simultaneously with initially scalp EEG, based on international 10-20 electrode placement with additional electrodes for anterior temporal regions, and subsequently stereotactic EEG. Localisation of MEG spike dipoles from both studies was concordant and all MEG spikes were detected by stereotactic EEG. For the patient with lateral temporal epilepsy, spike sensitivity of MEG and scalp EEG (relative to stereotactic EEG) was 55 and 0%, respectively. Of note, in this case, MEG spike dipoles were oriented tangentially to scalp surface in a tight cluster; the angle of the spike dipole to the vertical line was 3.6 degrees. For the patient with insular epilepsy, spike sensitivity of MEG and scalp EEG (relative to stereotactic EEG) was 83 and 44%, respectively; the angle of the spike dipole to the vertical line was 45.3 degrees. For the patient with lateral temporal epilepsy, tangential spikes from the lateral temporal cortex were difficult to detect based on scalp 10-20 EEG and for the patient with insular epilepsy, it was possible to evaluate operculum insular sources using MEG. We believe that these findings may be important for the interpretation of clinical EEG and MEG.