Radiographic features of tumefactive giant cavernous angiomas

P. Kan, M. Tubay, A. Osborn, S. Blaser, W. T. Couldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background. Giant cavernous angiomas (GCAs) are very rare, and imaging features of GCAs can be very different from those of typical cavernous angiomas (CAs), making them a diagnostic challenge. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the radiographic features of GCAs, with an emphasis on the differentiating features from neoplastic lesions. Methods. The neuroradiological findings of 18 patients who harbored a histologically verified GCA (CA of 4∈cm or larger) were reviewed retrospectively. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appearance, enhancement pattern, presence of edema or mass effect, size, and location of each lesion were recorded. When available, pertinent clinical information, including age, sex, and mode of presentation, was obtained. Findings. Seizures, neurologic deficits, hemorrhage, and hydrocephalus were the most common presenting symptoms. The lesions were hyperdense and nonenhancing on computed tomography with frequent calcifications. On MRI, the lesions most commonly had a multicystic appearance, representing blood of various ages, and multiple complete hemosiderin rings. GCAs can present in any location with associating edema and mass effect, giving them a tumefactive appearance. No developmental venous anomaly was observed with any lesion. Conclusions. Most GCAs in our series presented as multicystic lesions with complete hemosiderin rings on MRI, giving a "bubbles of blood" appearance. Although this characteristic feature is helpful in the diagnosis of many cases of GCAs, the correct diagnosis in the remaining cases may not be apparent until histopathological evaluation of the specimen is made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavernous angiomas
  • Cavernous malformations
  • Giant
  • Tumefactive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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