PURPOSE: Compare the detection rate of seizures on scalp EEG with simultaneous intracranial stereo EEG (SEEG) recordings. METHODS: Twenty-seven drug-resistant epilepsy patients undergoing SEEG with simultaneous scalp EEG as part of their surgical work-up were included. A total of 172 seizures were captured. RESULTS: Of the 172 seizures detected on SEEG, 100 demonstrated scalp ictal patterns. Focal aware and subclinical seizures were less likely to be seen on scalp, with 33% of each observed when compared with focal impaired aware (97%) and focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (100%) (P < 0.001). Of the 72 seizures without ictal scalp correlate, 32 demonstrated an abnormality during the SEEG seizure that was identical to an interictal abnormality. Seizures from patients with MRI lesions were statistically less likely to be seen on scalp than seizures from nonlesional patients (P = 0.0162). Stereo EEG seizures not seen on scalp were shorter in duration (49 seconds) compared with SEEG seizures seen on scalp (108.6 seconds) (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Scalp EEG is not a sensitive tool for the detection of focal aware and subclinical seizures but is highly sensitive for the detection of focal impaired aware and focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures. Longer duration of seizure and seizures from patients without MRI lesions were more likely to be apparent on scalp. Abnormalities seen interictally may at times represent an underlying seizure. The cognitive, affective, and behavioral long-term effects of ongoing difficult-to-detect seizures are not known.