Diagnosis and surgical treatment of cavernous sinus hemangiomas: an experience of 20 cases

Surg Neurol. 2003 Jul;60(1):31-6; discussion 36-7. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(03)00190-3.


Objective: To elucidate the advances of diagnosis and surgical treatment of the cavernous sinus hemangiomas (CSHs).

Methods: The data from 20 patients with the CSHs surgically treated by authors from 1996 through 2000 was analyzed retrospectively, and a review of relevant literature was conducted.

Results: These 20 cases accounted for 16.3% of all intracranial cavernous hemangiomas surgically treated in the same period at Huashan Hospital. The patients were aged from 32 approximately 69 years with an average age of 47 years. There were 17 females and 3 males. The common clinical manifestations were visual loss, diplopia, headache, facial numbness and extraocular muscle palsy. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were major preoperative diagnostic modalities, but demonstrated nonspecific features. The preoperative misdiagnostic rate was 38.9%. Of the 20 patients undergoing craniotomy via modified pterional approach with or without orbitozygomatic osteotomy, tumors were removed through epidural approach (EDA) in 13 cases, intradural approach (IDA) in 7 cases. Hypotension was induced during the operation in 2 cases. Total tumor removal was achieved in 12 cases (92.3%) in the EDA group and nil in the IDA group. Incomplete tumor removal was 1 case (7.7%) in the EDA group and 7 cases (100%) in the IDA group. One patient in the IDA group died of intracranial hemorrhage postoperatively. Compared with preoperative manifestations, cranial neuropathies at discharge were worsened in 76.9% of patients in the EDA group and 83.3% of patients in the IDA group, improved in 15.4% of patients in the EDA group and 16.7% of patients in the IDA group, unchanged in 7.7% of patients in the EDA group. Follow-up study (range, 1 approximately 6 years; mean, 3 years) was available in 17 patients (89%). All patients in the EDA group improved without tumor recurrence. Nonimprovement (2 cases) and continued worsening (3 cases) occurred in the IDA group. In patients with tumor incompletely removed, the tumor enlarged in 2 cases, and unchanged or decreased in size in 3 cases, in which 2 cases underwent postoperative radiosurgery or radiotherapy. According to pathologic and MRI characteristics, the CSHs can be divided into two types, sponge-like type and mulberry-like type.

Conclusion: Cavernous hemangioma should be included in differential diagnosis for middle aged females with cavernous sinus tumors. Two types of the CSHs, sponge-like type and mulberry-like type, can be identified. The best microsurgical approach for the removal of the CSHs is epidural approach via the skull-base craniotomy. Radiosurgery should be considered for patients with incomplete tumor removal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cavernous Sinus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cavernous Sinus / pathology
  • Cavernous Sinus / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed