The MRI appearance of cavernous malformations (angiomas)

Daniele RigamontiDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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Burton P. DrayerDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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Peter C. JohnsonDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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Mark N. HadleyDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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Joseph ZabramskiDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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Robert F. SpetzlerDivisions of Neurological Surgery, Neuroradiology, and Neuropathology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

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✓ The angiographic, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were compared in 10 patients with a total of 16 pathologically verified cavernous angiomas. Only three lesions had abnormal vasculature in the form of venous pooling or a capillary blush. The CT scans were positive in seven patients and detected 14 lesions, while high-field strength (1.5 Tesla) MRI was positive in each case and demonstrated 27 distinct lesions. On T2-weighted MRI, the combination of a reticulated core of mixed signal intensity (SI) with a surrounding rim of decreased SI strongly suggests the diagnosis of a cavernous malformation. Smaller lesions appear as areas of decreased SI (black dots). The sensitivity of MRI is based on magnetic susceptibility and possibly diffusion effects related to field heterogeneity that is more conspicuous on high-field imaging and caused by the presence of excessive iron (hemosiderin).

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