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Treatment Neurology & Neurosurgery

Cavernous Malformations

Currently, the treatments available for cavernous malformations include observation and surgery.


If your cavernous malformation does not seem to be causing any problems, your doctor may recommend that the malformation simply be observed with yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to detect any changes.

However, it is impossible to predict what will happen with any cavernous malformation. Some will cause repeated hemorrhages with worsening symptoms such as headaches, seizures, difficulty speaking, vision problems or weakness in the arms or legs, while others remain inactive and do not cause symptoms for many years.


Surgery is often recommended for the treatment of cavernous malformations. Because these malformations are so distinct from the surrounding brain tissue, they can at times be completely removed and cure associated seizures. It is very important to remove the entire malformation because it can grow back if a small piece is left behind. The risk of the operation depends on the size and location of the cavernous malformation and your general health.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

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