Spectral analysis of interictal background EEG activity recorded through foramen ovale (FO) electrodes during monitoring (mean 5.8 days per patient) was studied in 10 medically refractory complex partial seizure (CPS) patients who were candidates for epilepsy surgery. Data of the spectral analysis was plotted as compressed spectral array (CSA) with spectral edge frequency (SEF) markers. For each patient, time-varying fluctuations of the SEF markers were compared visually and by a computer-assisted method between two symmetrical FO electrode EEG channels recording from both mesiobasotemporal lobes (MTL). The amount of asymmetrical variations of the SEF markers ("rigidity" phenomenon) was first determined visually and then quantified by the computer-assisted method. These findings were correlated with the results of other clinical tests, including FO electrode-recorded seizure onset (FO ict), positron emission tomography with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate whether the rigidity phenomenon could lateralize the primary epileptogenic zone. The rigid side had 80, 70, and 60% coincidence rates with the pathologic side indicated by FDG-PET, FO ict, and MRI, respectively, in a single test. We conclude that the rigidity phenomenon of FO electrode-recorded interictal background EEG activity is a valuable sign for lateralization of the primary epileptogenic zone in MTL epilepsy. The relative invariance of SEF may be caused by interictal deafferentation of epileptic neurons.