Neuroaxial Infantile Hemangiomas: Imaging Manifestations and Association with Hemangioma Syndromes

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2021 Aug;42(8):1520-1527. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A7204. Epub 2021 Jul 8.


Background and purpose: Infantile hemangiomas are common lesions in the pediatric population; in rare cases, an infantile hemangioma can be detected along the neural axis. The purposes of our study included determination of the incidence, location, and imaging appearance of neuroaxial infantile hemangiomas and their syndromic association. We also assessed additional features of cerebral and cardiovascular anomalies that may be associated with neuroaxial lesions.

Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed, searching the radiology database for patients with segmental infantile hemangiomas referred for assessment of possible hemangioma syndromes. We retrospectively reviewed brain and spine MR imaging studies, with particular attention paid to neuroaxial vascular lesions, as well as the relevant clinical data. Neuroaxial hemangioma imaging findings were described, and comparison of segmental cutaneous infantile hemangioma location with the imaging findings was performed in patients with confirmed hemangioma syndromes and in patients with isolated skin infantile hemangioma.

Results: Ninety-five patients with segmental infantile hemangioma were included in the study, 42 of whom had a hemangioma syndrome; of those, 41 had posterior fossa brain malformations, hemangioma, arterial lesions, cardiac abnormalities, and eye abnormalities (PHACE) syndrome and 1 had diffuse neonatal hemangiomatosis. Neuroaxial involvement was detected in 20/42 patients (48%) with hemangioma syndromes and in no subjects with isolated segmental infantile hemangioma (P < .001). The most common intracranial hemangioma location was within the ipsilateral internal auditory canal (83%).

Conclusions: Many pediatric patients with segmental infantile hemangioma in the setting of hemangioma syndromes, especially those with PHACE, had neuroaxial hemangiomas. This finding may potentially lead to requiring additional clinical evaluation and management of these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Eye Abnormalities*
  • Hemangioma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neurocutaneous Syndromes* / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms*
  • Syndrome