Cavernoma, also known as cavernous malformation, is a vascular abnormality that affects the blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord. It is characterized by a cluster of abnormal, dilated blood vessels that have thin walls and can resemble a small "cavern" or bubble. Cavernomas can occur anywhere in the brain or spinal cord, but they are most commonly found in the brain.
The exact cause of cavernomas is not well understood, but they are thought to be congenital, meaning they are present from birth. In some cases, they may be hereditary and run in families. Cavernomas are considered to be vascular malformations rather than true tumors because they do not contain abnormal cell growth like traditional tumors.
Most people with cavernomas do not experience any symptoms, and the condition is often discovered incidentally during medical imaging tests for other purposes. However, when symptoms do occur, they can vary widely depending on the location and size of the cavernoma. Common symptoms may include seizures, headaches, weakness or numbness in the limbs, difficulty with coordination or balance, and changes in vision or hearing.
Diagnosis of cavernomas typically involves imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans. These scans provide detailed images of the blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord, allowing doctors to identify the presence and location of the cavernoma.
Treatment options for cavernomas depend on several factors, including the size and location of the lesion, the severity of symptoms, and the risk of bleeding. In many cases, if the cavernoma is small and not causing any symptoms, no treatment is necessary, and careful monitoring through regular imaging scans is sufficient. If the cavernoma is larger or causing symptoms, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, or medication to control symptoms or prevent bleeding.
The prognosis for individuals with cavernomas is generally favorable. Most cavernomas do not cause significant health issues or impairments, and many people with the condition can lead normal lives without any treatment. However, the risk of bleeding from a cavernoma is a concern, as it can lead to potentially serious complications, such as a hemorrhagic stroke. Therefore, regular follow-up and monitoring of cavernomas are important to assess any changes or potential risks.
In conclusion, cavernoma is a vascular abnormality characterized by a cluster of abnormal blood vessels in the brain or spinal cord. It is often asymptomatic but can cause seizures, headaches, and neurological deficits when symptoms are present. Diagnosis is typically made through imaging tests, and treatment options depend on the size and location of the cavernoma. With proper management and monitoring, most individuals with cavernomas can live without significant complications.
This is a case of a cavernoma deep in the brain that bled and was operated on by Dr Profyris in order to remove the cavernoma and stop it from causing further damage. The green arrows on the left hand images demonstrate the cavernoma which has been removed, as can be seen by the images on the right.
Above we can see an animation of this patients individual brain tracts demonstrating the cavernoma in red and the critical tracts in the other colours. This analysis allowed careful preoperative study of the cavernoma and the tracts and allows for personalisation of the pre-operative plan to make resection as safe as possible by avoiding critical tracts.
This is a brainstem cavernoma operated on by Dr Profyris. The green arrows on the left hand images demonstrate the cavernoma which has been removed, as can be seen by the images on the right.