Cavernous angioma, also known as cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), cavernous haemangioma, and cavernoma, is a vascular disorder of the central nervous system that may appear either sporadically or exhibit autosomal dominant inheritance.
It can also occur in other locations, such as the thyroid gland or the liver.
Diagnosis is most commonly made accidentally by routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening, though detection is far more likely via a specific imaging technique known as a gradient-echo sequence MRI, which can unmask small or punctate lesions that may otherwise remain undetected. These lesions are also more conspicuous on FLAIR imaging compared to standard T2 weighing. FLAIR imaging is different from Gradient sequences, rather, it is similar to T2 weighing but suppresses free-flowing fluid signal. Sometimes quiescent CCMs can be revealed as incidental findings during MRI exams ordered for other reasons.
Sometimes the lesion appearance imaged by MRI remains inconclusive. Consequently neurosurgeons will order a cerebral angiogram or magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA). Since CCMs are low flow lesions (they are hooked into the venous side of the circulatory system), they will be angiographically occult (invisible). If a lesion is discernible via angiogram in the same location as in the MRI, then an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) becomes the primary concern.
DVA (Developmental Venous Anomaly) in MRI (T1 axial contrast enhanced) Number of View: 3949