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Surg Neurol. 2005 Feb;63(2):170-3; discussion 173.

A brainstem cavernoma demonstrating a dramatic, spontaneous decrease in size during follow-up: case report and review of the literature.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Osaka City General Hospital, Osaka 534, Japan.



Many reports have demonstrated a worse prognosis for patients whose cavernomas were subtotally removed than for those whose cavernomas were not surgically treated. Therefore, it is better not to touch the cavernoma if a surgeon is not prepared to totally remove it. This report describes a large brainstem cavernoma showing a spontaneous, dramatic reduction in size after removal of only the biopsy specimen of the lesion.


A 42-year-old woman experienced facial numbness, diplopia, and ataxia. A magnetic resonance (MR) study revealed a pontine cavernoma with hemorrhage. Two weeks later, recurrence of the patient's symptoms and consciousness disturbance were noted. An MR study revealed massive hemorrhage from the cavernoma with a ventricle dilatation. An operation on the lesion was conducted 3 months after the initial hemorrhage. However, the operation was aborted when an exploration of the lesion showed a tight adhesion between the lesion and the pons. Removal of only a biopsy specimen and evacuation of the suckable hematoma were done. No neurologic recovery and no decrease in the size of the cavernoma were detected postoperatively. Her family did not wish for further treatments. She was in a bedridden state with severe brainstem dysfunction when she was transferred to a local hospital. Sixteen months after the surgery, her consciousness was clear, and MR imaging confirmed a marked reduction in the size of the cavernoma.


A dramatic, spontaneous decrease in size does occur even in the case of a large brainstem cavernoma showing hemorrhages. Conservative therapy may be one of the treatment options for the symptomatic brainstem cavernoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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