Intracranial contrast-enhancing masses in infants with capillary haemangioma of the head and neck: intracranial capillary haemangioma?

Neuroradiology. 1999 May;41(5):369-75. doi: 10.1007/s002340050767.


Contrast-enhancing intracranial masses are rarely found in infants with extracranial capillary haemangiomas (CH). We aimed to assess their nature and progression in three patients undergoing CT and/or MRI. The changes in size of both extra- and intracranial lesions were recorded. In a fourth case, a single examination was obtained. All patients harboured one or two enhancing intracranial nodular, meningeal-based lesions. Diffuse leptomeningeal enhancement of the cerebellar surface was also seen in one, which disappeared at follow-up. In all but one of the cases, the intracranial lesions were on the same side as the extracranial CH. These lesions and the extracranial CH demonstrated parallel changes in size (suggesting that both represent CH) during follow-up of 1-2 years: the size of intracranial lesions and the extracranial CH decreased in two cases, whereas it was unchanged in the third. One patient had a persistent trigeminal artery, while another had cerebellar atrophy with high signal in the cortex on T2-weighted images. In some cases, extracranial CH are part of PHACE syndrome; the association with intracranial CH might represent a peculiar phenotype of this rare vascular phakomatosis. As extracranial CH are known to regress spontaneously in the majority of cases, a conservative approach is recommended also for presumed intracranial CH; surgery should be avoided unless follow-up studies demonstrate growth.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*