MRI of intramedullary cavernous haemangiomas

Neuroradiology. 1995 May;37(4):297-302. doi: 10.1007/BF00588339.


We reviewed 11 cases of intramedullary cavernous haemangiomas (IMCH) studied by MRI, to assess its diagnostic value in these lesions. Follow-up MRI was obtained in five patients 7 days-2 years following the initial study. In one case a postoperative examination was obtained. The diagnosis was pathologically proven in ten cases, and supported in the last by a family and personal history of cavernous haemangiomas. A reticulate appearance with areas of mixed signal intensity in both T1- and T2-weighted images was the most common finding. Homogeneous high, low or intermediate signal intensity was each found in one case. Two small lesions gave low signal. A rim of low signal was less common than in cerebral cavernous haemangiomas. In one case, the brain showed more than 20 lesions with the MRI appearances of cavernous haemangiomas. In two of five patients, serial preoperative MRI showed progressive disappearance of high-signal areas on both T1- and T2-weighted images. To find a haemorrhagic intramedullary lesion on MRI is not rare. Although the appearances are not pathognomonic, an IMCH can be suggested. We suggest that the following characteristics may help: (1) a personal and/or family history of cavernous haemangiomas; (2) typical MRI appearances of mixed acute, subacute and chronic haemorrhage; (3) a tendency for signal intensity to decrease on follow-up; (4) normal spinal angiography; and (5) associated brain lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / diagnosis*
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Cord Neoplasms / pathology