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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2015 September;59(3):283-94


language: English

Management of cerebral cavernous malformations in the pediatric population: a literature review and case illustrations

Kosnik-Infinger L. 1, Carroll C. 1, Greiner H. 2, Leach J. 3, Mangano F. T. 1

1 Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 2 Division of Pediatric Neurology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 3 Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Cavernous malformations (CM) are vascular malformations of the central nervous system that may occur in the brain and spinal cord. They are one of the four major types of vascular malformations that also includes developmental venous anomalies (DVA)s, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and capillary telangiectasias. CMs are a common vascular malformation, and 25% of them occur in the pediatric age group. They can present with acute or chronic symptoms including headache, neurologic deficits secondary to hemorrhage, mass effect, or epilepsy. This review will focus on the neurosurgical management of intracranial cavernous malformations in children. Pediatric CMs have special considerations different from CM that occur in the adult population which are highlighted throughout this review. Characteristics specific to pediatric CM epidemiology, genetics, presentation, pathology, location, size, epilepsy, and management will be discussed. Specific considerations must be entertained with the diagnosis of pediatric CM in that management needs to include consideration of the lifetime risk of hemorrhage, as well as the possibility of development of epilepsy. If in an accessible location, most cavernomas should be surgically removed in a timely fashion to provide lifelong cure for pediatric patients. The review closes with the discussion of two interesting cavernous malformation cases occurring in a 12-year old male and a 12-year old female that exhibit many of the important aspects specific to the management of a pediatric patient with CM, highlighting the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

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