The case for conservative management of venous angiomas

Can J Neurol Sci. 1991 Aug;18(3):295-9. doi: 10.1017/s031716710003184x.


Venous angiomas (developmental venous anomalies) are vascular malformations increasingly recognized in general neurosurgical or neurological practice. They are associated with intracranial hemorrhage, seizures, or progressive neurological deficits or found as incidental findings in patients who present with headaches or have neuroimaging studies for investigation of unrelated neurological disorders. Since venous angiomas drain normal cerebral tissue within a functionally normal arterial territory, resection can lead to venous infarction. This report studies 27 patients with venous angiomas, all of whom had conservative treatment. The venous angioma was considered to be responsible for the onset of neurological symptoms in 14 patients (7 with hemorrhage, 3 with hemorrhage and seizures, 2 with seizures, one with an extrapyramidal movement disorder, and one with motor deficit). Thirteen patients had incidental lesions (8 with headache, and 5 with unrelated neurological symptoms). Ten venous angiomas were in the posterior fossa; seven in the cerebellum. Location did not correlate with symptomatic presentation. No patient with hemorrhage required surgical evacuation of the hematoma. No patient died or had significant morbidity during the follow-up interval (mean of 3.7 years). Venous angiomas are low flow, low resistance vascular malformations, many of which are not associated with neurological sequelae. Our series supports the concept that surgical removal or radiosurgical obliteration should not be performed unless a patient has a second life threatening hemorrhage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Cerebral Veins* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Veins* / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed