Malformation of the blood system located in the brain, cerebral cavernoma can be asymptomatic but also cause epileptic seizures, headaches or cerebral hemorrhage. How to diagnose it and take care of it? We take stock.
Cerebral cavernoma: what is it?
Cerebral cavernoma, also called carvenous angioma, is an abnormality of certain blood vessels located in the brain. These vessels are then abnormally dilated. This malformation can affect both men and women. In their reference work entitled Pathology of tumours of the nervous system (1989), doctors DS Russell and LJ Rubinstein describe cerebral cavernoma as “vascular anomalies mainly localized in the nervous system and characterized by abnormally dilated sinusoidal vascular cavities, lined with an endothelium, without cerebral parenchyma between them.There are genetic forms of the disease, but its mechanism of onset is not well understood.
What are the symptoms of cerebral cavernoma?
The cerebral carvernoma is in the vast majority of cases asymptomatic and a person can live all their life with this defect without knowing it. However, it can cause various neurological disorders which most often appear between the ages of 20 and 40.
Among the most frequent signs, we can mention epileptic seizures, headaches, blurred vision, tingling or tenderness in the limbs. The main risk of cavernoma is its bleeding which can lead, in the most serious cases, brain hemorrhage.
Cerebral cavernoma: how is it diagnosed?
In the absence of symptoms, cerebral cavernoma is most often discovered incidentally during a imaging test (MRI or Scanner). If the patient presents symptoms suggestive of this malformation, it is the MRI that will make it possible to diagnose it with certainty. We can clearly see on imaging that the vessels are dilated, we observe a group of small cavities containing blood, hence the name “cave”.
What are the treatments for cerebral cavernoma?
In addition to symptom management, for example to relieve pain, the only treatment for cerebral cavernoma is surgery. When the cavernoma has already bled, the procedure involves removing the entire cavernoma (s), in order to eliminate the risk of new bleeding. This intervention, performed by a neurological surgeon, is not without risk. In very rare cases, it can cause permanent neurological deficits when an area of the brain is affected during the operation.
It also happens that cavernomas are inoperable, due to their location. If the cavenorm is completely removed, there is no risk of recurrence and the danger is eliminated.
When the cavernoma is asymptomatic and its size does not change, simple monitoring by imaging may be considered.
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