The majority of cavernous angiomas occur in adults, but about 25% are found in children. Although you can inherit the condition, these vascular malformations tend to develop spontaneously. David Newell, MD has years of experience providing the only treatment for cavernous angiomas: microsurgery to remove the affected blood vessels. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as frequent headaches or seizures, call Dr. Newell’s Seattle, Washington, office or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.
A cavernous angioma, or cavernous malformation, is an abnormal cluster of blood vessels in your brain or spinal cord. The blood vessels develop bubble-like bulges that fill with blood and tend to resemble caverns. The cluster of vessels can range in size, depending on the amount of blood buildup.
The abnormal blood vessels in the cavernous angioma are weak and likely to bleed. If they bleed slowly, the angioma may stay small enough that it won’t cause symptoms. However, if you do experience symptoms, they depend on the location of the angioma and the extent of bleeding.
These symptoms may include:
If the cavernous angioma continues to bleed, your symptoms can progressively worsen.
Dr. Newell determines your treatment based on the location and severity of the cavernous angioma, as well as your symptoms, age, and overall health. There are only two possible treatment strategies:
If you don’t have symptoms or your symptoms are mild, Dr. Newell may closely monitor your condition and initiate treatment only if they worsen. When a cavernous angioma bleeds slowly, the bleeding is often reabsorbed, so the blood vessels don’t enlarge.
Observation may also be the best treatment for patients who have other medical problems or who have a deep cavernous angioma that makes surgery riskier.
When a cavernous angioma bleeds within the blood vessel walls, it can grow large enough to put pressure on nearby brain tissues. It can also bleed through a weak spot in the blood vessel wall and hemorrhage into the brain.
When bleeding causes symptoms like headaches or seizures, you may need surgery to remove the angioma.
Dr. Newell performs microsurgery, using a specialized operating microscope and image-guided navigation to remove a cavernous angioma in your brain. If the angioma is located in your spine, a laminectomy to remove the back of a vertebra provides access to the angioma.
To learn more about cavernous angiomas, call David Newell, MD or book an appointment online.