2003 Volume 43 Issue 10 Pages 471-476
The characteristics of spinal epidural cavernous hemangioma without primary origin in the vertebral bone were evaluated in 54 patients including our new case. The 36 male and 18 female patients were aged 5 to 78 years (mean 47 years). Most lesions were in the thoracic spine (80%) and on the dorsal side of the spinal cord (93%). The clinical course was mostly slowly progressive, with myelopathy in 33% at onset and 83% at admission. The lesion appeared isointense to the spinal cord on T1-weighted imaging, and isointense or slightly hypointense to the cerebrospinal fluid on T2-weighted imaging. Lesion without hemorrhage showed prominent homogeneous enhancement after administration of gadolinium-diethylenetriaminepenta-acetic acid because of the sinusoidal channel structure. Heterogeneous enhancement was caused by hematoma and/or post-hemorrhagic degeneration. The differential diagnosis of this disease includes metastatic tumor, Ewing's sarcoma, chordoma, eosinophilic granuloma, sarcoidosis, lipoma, hypertrophy of the posterior longitudinal ligament or the ligamentum flavum, meningioma, and neurinoma. The relationships between clinical course and surgery or outcome suggest that early diagnosis and total removal of the lesion before massive lesional bleeding occurs are necessary for a good outcome.