Radiology and imaging for cavernous malformations

Kevin Y. Wang, Oluwatoyin Rosemary Idowu, Doris Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


Cavernous malformations are low-flow vascular malformations that are histologically characterized by the lack of mural elements of mature vascular structures and intervening parenchymal neural tissue. They are often clinically quiescent, and may grow, bleed, and regress, but can also manifest clinically as neurologic deficits or seizures in the setting of an acute hemorrhage. The low-flow nature of cavernous malformations renders them inherently occult on cerebral angiography. Magnetic resonance imaging has become the mainstay imaging modality in evaluating cavernous malformations, producing characteristic imaging features that usually provide a straightforward diagnosis. Features on magnetic resonance imaging include a reticulated pattern of mixed hyper- and hypointensity on T1- and T2-weighted imaging, with a characteristic hypointense rim best appreciated on T2-weighted imaging or gradient-echo sequences. Contrast enhancement is useful for revealing coexisting developmental venous anomalies that are frequently associated with sporadic cavernous malformations, and may further support the diagnosis. Susceptibility-weighted imaging is highly sensitive for cavernous malformations and accompanying developmental venous anomalies, and is superior to gradient-echo sequences in screening for multifocal, familial cavernous malformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • cavernoma
  • cavernous angioma
  • cavernous hemangioma
  • cavernous malformation
  • computed tomography
  • gradient-echo imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • susceptibility-weighted imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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