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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2015 September;59(3):221-35

language: English

Neuroimaging of cerebral cavernous malformations

Klostranec J. M. 1, Krings T. 1, 2, 3

1 Department of Medical Imaging, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada;
2 Division of Neuroradiology, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada;
3 Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada


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Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular malformations of the brain and brainstem that arise via a number of different mechanisms and can result in non-specific presentations. Therefore, medical imaging is essential in the diagnosis of these lesions and important to guide their clinical or surgical management. MRI is the modality of choice with newer protocols, such as susceptibility weighted imaging, playing an increasingly important role in the detection of CCMs. In this review we will discuss lesion structure, its proposed origins, and common lesion presentations and complications, before covering their expected appearances with different imaging modalities. We conclude with a discussion of insights about lesion behaviour acquired from advanced imaging techniques and provide a general approach to characterizing and diagnosing CCM lesions with neuroimaging.

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timo.krings@uhn.ca