Objective: Cavernous malformations (CMs) are vascular malformations affecting any part of the central nervous system. CMs in the pediatric age group are known to be different from those of adults both in origin and clinical characteristics. In this paper, we report our experience in managing CMs in pediatric patients.
Materials and methods: Between January 1994 and December 2006, 33 patients younger than 20 years of age with intracranial CMs were treated with microsurgery or radiosurgery. We retrospectively reviewed the presentation and treatment of these 33 patients (18 boys and 15 girls; average age 11.6 years).
Results: The most common symptom at presentation was seizure (19 children, 57.6%). The most common type of CM, classified on the basis of magnetic resonance imaging, was type II (18, 54.5%). The supratentorial compartment was the most frequent location (27, 71.8%), and only six CMs (18.2%) were observed in the infratentorial compartment. Microsurgery was performed on 25 patients (75.8%), and radiosurgery was performed on eight patients (24.2%). The overall post-treatment results were positive. Only two children (6.1%) had persistent presurgical neurological signs, although the treatment ameliorated them. No progression of the preoperative neurological signs or onset of new neurological deficits was seen in any of the patients. In our patient group, the microsurgical removal of CMs resulted in the prevention of recurrent hemorrhage and the control of seizure disorders in all cases.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that pediatric patients with symptomatic CMs should be treated surgically because of the risk of recurrent hemorrhaging and the general benefits of CM removal.