To introduce a measure of global cortical folding in epilepsy by using stereology. Subtle developmental abnormalities associated with temporal lobe epilepsy may encompass brain morphologic changes such as an aberrant degree of cortical folding.Stereologic methods of volume and surface-area estimation were applied to in vivo MR brain-image data of a cohort of 20 temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients (10 men, 10 women), and 20 neurologically normal controls (10 men, 10 women). Indices of cerebral gyrification and cerebral atrophy were generated. The impact of side of seizure onset, age at onset, history of febrile seizures, presence or absence of lesions, and presence or absence of secondarily generalized seizures on cerebral gyrification was assessed.Although no significant group mean difference was found in the degree of cerebral gyrification between patients and controls, five of 10 of male patients had an abnormal gyrification when compared with male controls. One female patient had a significant change in gyrification compared with female controls. In general, patients with TLE demonstrated a significant degree of global cerebral atrophy compared with controls. Clinical factors were not demonstrated to affect significantly any of the quantitative parameters.The results of this study suggest that an aberrant degree of global cerebral gyrification may occur in certain clinical groups of TLE patients. These findings have implications for general theories of developmental susceptibility in TLE.