MR imaging of head and neck vascular malformations

J Magn Reson Imaging. 1991 Sep-Oct;1(5):579-84. doi: 10.1002/jmri.1880010511.


Between 1980 and 1990, 150 patients with cervicofacial vascular malformations were studied at the authors' institution with computed tomography, plain radiography, and angiography. Since 1989, 34 of these patients have also undergone magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Capillary-venous hemangiomas seem to be the best indication for the adjunctive use of MR imaging. The venous pouches, characteristic of this type of lesion, cause elevated signal intensity, well seen on the T2-weighted images. Excellent fat and muscle differentiation with MR imaging allows appreciation of the depth of extension of these lesions and their delimitation from normal tissue. Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are characterized by serpentine signal voids, indicative of the high flow rate of these lesions. Delimitation of the AVM nidus in the midst of the afferent and efferent dilated vessels is often difficult. Study of immature angiomas with MR imaging should be restricted to lesions in specific locations (eg, orbital, laryngeal). Lymphatic malformations showed either tissular or cystic signal intensity changes. MR imaging does not replace other studies but represents an important complementary study for the delineation and diagnosis of deep extensions of vascular malformations, allowing better planning of therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Head / blood supply*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Lymphangioma / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*