Cavernous Malformations – An Overview
A cavernous malformation is the term used to describe the cluster of tiny and abnormal blood vessels in the body as well as the larger but thin-walled blood vessels in the brain.
These can also be found in the spinal cord, the thin film of tissue covering the brain (dura) as well as in the nerves inside the skull. These cavernous malformations can be as small as less than a quarter of an inch to as large as 3-4 inches long.
A cavernous malformation is also known as cavernous angiomas, cavernomas, intracranial vascular malformations or cavernous hemangiomas. ‘Angiomas’ is used to describe the propensity of growth that is mostly associated with this form of medical disorder.
This disorder is estimated to affect 1 in 100-200 people and includes around 30% of all intracranial vascular malformations. Around 30% of people affected with cavernous malformations are likely to exhibit the signs and symptoms in between the age of 20-35 years. This is linked to genetics and there are 50% chances of a child developing this disorder if one of the parent suffers from cavernous angiomas.
Signs and Symptoms of Cavernous Malformations
Around 15-20% of all people affected with cavernous malformations do not exhibit any form of sign or symptoms at all. Other patients show variable symptoms, which mostly depend on the location of the cavernous malformation.
These are the common signs and symptoms that indicate towards a cavernous malformation:
- Seizures – These can vary in severity, duration as well as intensity.
- Neurological Deficits – These may include weakness in arms or legs as well as vision problems, memory problems and attention-span related issues.
- Headaches – These can vary in intensity, duration and severity.
- Hemorrhaging – This is bleeding seen in the brain, which may damage surrounding cranial (brain) matter.
- Balance problems
Diagnosing Cavernous Malformations
A cavernous malformation belongs to a group of medical disorders related to lesions, known as ‘angiographically occult vascular malformations’ that denotes that these cannot be detected in an angiogram.
The most common and successful diagnostic technique used in detecting cavernous malformations are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, with or without contrast dye along with gradient echo sequences. MRI scans are required to observe the change in size of the cavernous malformation, recent bleeding or development of new lesions.
Cavernous Malformation Treatment
There are several methods of cavernous malformation treatment. The neurosurgeon will take into consideration various factors into account in order to decide for the best and most effective treatment method for the patient, such as:
- Location of cavernous malformation
- Size of cavernous malformation
- Bleeding in lesion
- Symptoms being caused
- Rate of development of cavernous malformation
The most ideal method of cavernous malformation treatment is the surgical method. In case the cavernous malformation causes signs and symptoms that are noticeable and the lesion is growing in size, the surgeon may suggest a cavernous malformation surgery to relieve the symptoms as well as remove the lesions.
Surgery is most effective when the malformation is found to be in an easily-accessible part of the brain. The surgeon will need to remove the cavernous malformation completely in order to prevent it from recurring in the future.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is one of the most advanced techniques used to treat cavernous malformations. This is ideally useful for treating those cavernous malformations that are constantly bleeding and are located in a hard-to-reach part of the brain where traditional surgical method is not effective, or possible. This technique uses a precisely-aimed beam of radiation to target the cavernous malformations. This highly-advanced technique is assisted by a 3-D imaging computer system which helps the neurologist guide the beam of radiation more accurately and effectively. The radiation dosage in high but the accuracy of the beam ensures that there is no collateral damage to the surrounding healthy brain tissues.
As this is a non-invasive treatment method it does not require administering any form of anesthesia as it is also virtually painless. This treatment lasts for around 2-4 hours depending mostly on the size and number of malformations to be treated. This is mostly performed as an outpatient procedure and the patient is allowed to go home the same day.
Why choose Travcure for Cavernous Malformation Surgery in India?
India is home to the world’s largest network of comprehensive and multi-specialty healthcare facilities spread across all its major cities. These are highly-equipped hospitals and clinics that are able to offer a wide range of treatments for a large variety of medical disorders and diseases using the latest and most modern technology. Travcure is well-connected to this network of high-quality hospitals to ensure that every patient gets the best, most effective and the most cost-friendly cavernous malformation surgery treatment in India.
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