Considerable interest has been focused on the psychiatric complications of medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) before and after epilepsy surgery. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the psychiatric status, quality of life, and level of disability in medically refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients, a homogenous subgroup of patients with TLE, before and after anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL). The study population consisted of 22 patients with medically refractory MTLE who were candidates for ATL. Patients were examined before surgery as well as in the third and sixth months of the postoperative period. Psychiatric diagnosis was determined by using SCID-I. to rate the severity of psychiatric disorders, BPRS, HDRS, and HARS were employed on each visit. WHO-DAS-II and WHOQOL-BREF were used to determine the level of disability and quality of life. Preoperatively, six patients had a psychiatric diagnosis. Three months after surgery, six of the patients had psychiatric diagnoses. Five of these six patients had not been previously diagnosed. There was no significant difference between preoperative and postoperative follow-up evaluations in terms of HDRS, HARS, and BPRS ratings. With respect to the total scores and domains of WHO-DAS-II, the change in pre- and postoperative evaluations was statistically significant only for the social life attendance domain. There was no significant difference in the mean scores on the WHOQOL-BREF domains or on the first question about general evaluation of quality of life. For the second question on the level of satisfaction with health, the difference between the three ratings was statistically significant. Preoperative and postoperative rates of psychiatric disorders in our sample were low. While social phobia was frequently seen preoperatively, the postoperative period was spearheaded by major depressive disorder. The decrease in disability in attendance to social life and improvement in the quality of health were in concordance with the literature, indicating the positive results of surgical treatment of epilepsy on quality of life. This study suggests that surgical intervention might be one of the causes of postoperative psychiatric disorders in patients with MTLE. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.