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Cavernous Malformation of the Brain


This condition is an abnormal bundle of enlarged blood vessels in the brain. This mass, which resembles a raspberry, forms multiple pockets filled with stagnant or slowly flowing blood. This blood can leak into the surrounding brain.


Cavernous malformations form sporadically with no known cause. In some cases, heredity may play a role. They can develop before birth during the early stages of embryonic development. These malformations have not been linked to any activity undertaken by the mother during pregnancy.


A cavernous malformation that leaks blood can compress the brain. This can cause symptoms such as seizures, paralysis, weakness or numbness. It can cause problems with vision, speech or coordination. However, in many cases a cavernous malformation causes no noticeable problems.


Cavernous malformations are typically diagnosed as a result of patients' symptoms. Because many malformations cause no noticeable symptoms, they are often discovered when a CT or MRI scan is ordered for an unrelated issue.


Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the problem. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. If a cavernous malformation causes multiple hemorrhages or epileptic seizures, surgery may be needed to remove the mass.