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Eur J Radiol. 2003 Feb;45(2):83-90.

MRI findings in Tolosa-Hunt syndrome before and after systemic corticosteroid therapy.

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Department of Radiology, Istanbul Sişli Etfal Hospital, 67 Ada, Kardelen 4/2, Daire 37, 80220 Ataşehir, Istanbul, Turkey.


Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (THS) is characterized by painful ophthalmoplegia due to a granulomatous inflammation in the cavernous sinus. Corticosteroid therapy dramatically resolves both the clinical and radiological findings of THS. We present MRI findings of six patients with a clinical history of at least one episode of unilateral or bilateral orbital-periorbital pain, clinical findings of associated paresis of one or more of 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th cranial nerves. All of the patients revealed an enlargement of the symptomatic cavernous sinus on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Five patients revealed total resolution of the clinical findings within 1-8 weeks, following systemic corticosteroid treatment. One patient revealed only minor regression of clinical findings within 2 weeks after the initiation of the treatment, so the cavernous sinus lesion was reevaluated as meningioma on MRI, and the patient underwent surgical resection of the mass with resultant histopathological finding of cavernous sinus meningioma. A follow-up MRI scan was performed for five patients at the end of 8-weeks of steroid therapy. Three of these five patients showed total resolution of the cavernous sinus lesions whereas two of them revealed a partial regression of the cavernous sinus lesions. MRI findings before and after systemic corticosteroid therapy are important diagnostic criteria to put the definitive diagnosis of THS and to differentiate it from other cavernous sinus lesions that simulate THS both clinically and radiologically.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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