✓ To characterize the temporal course of radiosurgical lesions, 19 cats were irradiated in an animal linear accelerator radiosurgical device. The animals were followed clinically and, at 3.5, 6, 12, 18, 23, 29, and 63 weeks, were studied with gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. They were then sacrificed after Evans blue dye perfusion, and gross pathological and histopathological studies were performed.
Mild neurological deficits developed between 3.5 and 4.5 weeks, correlating with the onset of mass effect both grossly and radiographically and with the maximum amount of white matter edema on T2-weighted MR imaging and microscopic examination. Clinical improvement occurred within several weeks as these resolved. The lesions were of similar size at all time intervals. Gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging demonstrated lesions with peripheral areas of enhancement and central nonenhancing regions which correlated histologically with areas of vascular proliferation and radiation necrosis, respectively. In the early lesions at 3.5 and 6 weeks, necrosis and edema were predominant. From 12 to 29 weeks, an intermediate stage was observed, with resorption of the necrotic debris as evidenced by progressive cavitation and microglial response and by increased perilesional vascularity. At 63 weeks, resorption was still taking place, but gliosis and diminution of the vascular response were seen.