Clinical features and management of cavernous and venous angiomas in the head

Koji Tokunaga, Isao Date

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cerebral cavernous angiomas consist of well-circumscribed collections of thin-walled sinusoidal vascular channels lacking the intervening brain tissue. They are present in 0.4-0.8% of the population, and can occur in a sporadic or familial form. Most common symptoms are seizures, hemorrhage, and focal neurological deficits. The annual bleeding rate of the patient is reported to be 0.25%-20%. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful diagnostic tool with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. Microsurgical excision of the lesion is a good treatment choice for cavernous angiomas in the brain, even in the brainstem. Although stereotactic radiosurgery may reduce the incidence of rebleeding and the frequency of seizures, its indication should be carefully investigated because of the relatively high rate of radiation-induced side effects. Less frequently, cavernous angiomas can be located at the extra-axial regions of the head, which include the cavernous sinus, the orbit, and the cranial nerves. Cavernous angiomas in the cavernous sinus pose a neurosurgical challenge due to the high vascularity and involvement of the neurovascular structures, and stereotactic radiosurgery is considered as an additional option. Surgical resection is recommended for symptomatic cavernous angiomas in the orbit; however, the rate of complications after resection is not necessarily low for cavernous angiomas within the apex. Venous angiomas are anomalies of normal venous drainage, which show characteristic appearance of the drainage system in the late phase of angiography (caput medusae). They are found either alone or in combination with other vascular malformations. Conservative treatment is recommended except for patients with a large hematoma or with a coexisting cavernous angioma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Nerve
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Cavernous sinus
  • Cerebral cavernous angioma
  • Cranial nerves
  • Orbit
  • Venous angioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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