Cranial Conditions

Cavernous Malformations

Cavernous Malformations

Cavernous Malformation:abnormal group of blood vessels. Life threatening if in critical area of body and hemorrhage.

Cavernous malformations, also known as cavernous hemangiomas, are anomalies characterized by an abnormal accumulation of blood vessels within internal organs or the skin. These malformations stem from minute vessels that segregate the arterial from the venous system. Typically discernible and capable of attaining considerable size, they constitute around 8% to 15% of all intracranial and spinal vascular anomalies. Their presence can lead to hemorrhaging and, if located in critical areas of internal organs, may pose life-threatening risks.

Causes

While the precise etiology of cavernous malformations remains elusive, some research suggests the involvement of estrogen signaling in their rapid growth.

Approximately one-third of these malformations are congenital, while the remainder manifests within the first few months of life, often varying in depth within the skin layers or affecting internal organs.

Symptoms

Symptoms and manifestations of cavernous malformations vary depending on their location. Surface lesions resemble ripe strawberries and are colloquially termed “strawberry nevus,” while subcutaneous ones present as bluish swellings. Internal organ involvement results in symptoms associated with organ dysfunction.

Diagnosis

Surface cavernous malformations are typically diagnosed via physical examination due to their visible nature. Deeper or complex lesions may necessitate computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for accurate diagnosis. Similarly, internal organ involvement may require imaging studies for detection.

Treatment

Treatment approaches for cavernous hemangiomas depend on factors such as location, size, and impact on the patient’s quality of life.

  • Observation: Small or challenging-to-reach lesions may be left untreated, with periodic monitoring via CT or MRI scans.
  • Surgical Removal: Surgically accessible and sizable malformations may be excised, offering a complete cure. However, complexities arise in cases of multiple or deep-seated lesions, particularly within the brain.
  • Radiation Therapy: While not conclusively proven effective, some physicians may consider focused radiation therapy like gamma knife treatment, despite uncertainties regarding long-term outcomes.

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