Cavernous Hemangioma

The cavernous sinus is a hollow area that lies behind your eyes. A cavernous hemangioma happens when capillaries – small blood vessels that connect arteries and veins – swell and form a noncancerous mass called an angioma. 

These masses often occur in multiples in your brain, and almost always on one side only. The condition is relatively common. About 20% of cases are the result of an inherited gene mutation.

Overview

Overview

Symptoms

Some cavernous hemangiomas cause symptoms including:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Paralysis or weakness in the limbs

Diagnosis

You’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. If you have a family history of the condition, your doctor may suggest a consultation with a geneticist. You’ll talk about your symptoms, and your doctor may order diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray, MRI or a more specialized scan:

  • SWI (susceptibility weighted imaging), a specific MRI that looks for small areas of bleeding
  • Orbital echography, an ultrasound of the blood vessels near the eyes
  • Tonometry, a test that measures fluid pressure in the eyes

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Treatment Options

Treatment Options

Untreated angiomas can create serious problems, including permanent blindness. Treatment options depend on the location of the tumor, as well as whether it’s bleeding or causing seizures. 

Treatments include:

  • Open surgery (craniotomy) to remove the tumor
  • Stereotactically-assisted craniotomy, a surgical procedure in which a small hole is drilled into the skull and instruments are guided to the hemangioma using three-dimensional CT or MRI scans 
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery using CyberKnife®, a non-invasive, robotic system that delivers high radiation therapy to tumors with pinpoint accuracy

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