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Microsurgical removal of supratentorial and cerebellar cavernous malformations: what has changed? A single institution experience.

BACKGROUND: Features associated with a safe surgical resection of cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) are still not clear and what is needed to achieve this target has not been defined yet.

METHODS: Clinical presentation, radiological features and anatomical locations were assessed for patients operated on from January 2008 to January 2018 for supratentorial and cerebellar cavernomas. Supratentorial CMs were divided into 3 subgroups (non-critical vs. superficial critical vs. deep critical). The clinical outcome was assessed through modified Rankin Scale (mRS) and was divided into favorable (mRS 0-1) and unfavorable (mRS ≥ 2). Post-operative epilepsy was classified according to the Maraire Scale.

RESULTS: A total of 144 were considered eligible for the current study. At 6 months follow-up the clinical outcome was excellent for patients with cerebellar or lobar CMs in non-critical areas (mRS ≤ 1: 91.1 %) and for patients with superficial CMs in critical areas (mRS ≤ 1: 92.3 %). Patients with deep-seated suprantentorial CMs showed a favorable outcome in 76.9 %. As for epilepsy 58.5 % of patients presenting with a history of epilepsy were free from seizures and without therapy (Maraire grade I) at last follow-up (mean 3.9 years) and an additional 41.5 % had complete control of seizures with therapy (Maraire grade II).

CONCLUSIONS: Surgery is safe in the management of CMs in non-critical but also in critical supratentorial locations, with a caveat for deep structures such as the insula, the basal ganglia and the thalamus/hypothalamus.

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