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Ann Saudi Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;26(1):28-37.

Pattern of congenital brain malformations at a referral hospital in Saudi Arabia: an MRI study.

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Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, College of Medicine and King Khalid Univerity Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



More than 2000 different congenital cerebral malformations have been described in the literature, for which several classification systems have been proposed. With the help of these classification systems, it is now possible, with neuroimaging, to time neuroembryologic events. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in particular, is useful in studying these malformations. This study evaluated the pattern of congenital brain malformations in a university referral hospital setting.


The records of all MRI brain examinations at our hospital over a period of 3 years for children younger than 15 years of age were reviewed. Cases of congenital cerebral malformations were analyzed by sex, age at presentation, type of congenital cerebral malformation, and other associated congenital cerebral malformations.


Of the 808 MR examinations of different parts of the body for children in the study period, 719 (89%), on 581 patients, were of the brain. Eighty-six children (14.8%) were found to have single or multiple congenital brain malformations. In these children, 114 congenital brain malformations were identified, the commonest being cortical migrational defects (25 patients, 22%), neural tube closure defects (22 patients, 19%), and corpus callosum dysgenesis (22 patients,19%). The least common was vascular malformation. Sixteen patients (18.6%) had more than one congenital brain malformation.


Neural tube closer defects, cortical migrational abnormalities, and corpus callosum anomalies were the commonest congenital brain malformations, while vascular malformations were the least common. Most of the identified malformations demonstrated the usual pattern, but a few showed unusual patterns and associations.

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