Gamma Knife Surgery for Cavernous Hemangiomas in the Cavernous Sinus

Neurosurgery 67:611-616, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000378026.23116.E6

Cavernous hemangioma in the cavernous sinus (CS) is a rare vascular tumor. Direct microsurgical approach usually results in massive hemorrhage. Radiosurgery has emerged as a treatment alternative to microsurgery.

OBJECTIVE: To further investigate the role of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) in treating CS hemangiomas.

METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of 7 patients with CS hemangiomas treated by GKS between 1993 and 2008. Data from 84 CS meningiomas treated during the same period were also analyzed for comparison. The patients underwent follow-up magnetic resonance imaging at 6-month intervals. Data on clinical and imaging changes after radiosurgery were analyzed.

RESULTS: Six months after GKS, magnetic resonance imaging revealed an average of 72% tumor volume reduction (range, 56%-83%). After 1 year, tumor volume decreased 80% (range, 69%-90%) compared with the pre-GKS volume. Three patients had > 5 years of follow- up, which showed the tumor volume further decreased by 90% of the original size. The average tumor volume reduction was 82%. In contrast, tumor volume reduction of the 84 cavernous sinus meningiomas after GKS was only 29% (P < .001 by Mann-Whitney U test). Before treatment, 6 patients had various degrees of ophthalmoplegia. After GKS, 5 improved markedly within 6 months. Two patients who suffered from poor vision improved after radiosurgery.

CONCLUSION: GKS is an effective and safe treatment modality for CS hemangiomas with long-term treatment effect. Considering the high risks involved in microsurgery, GKS may serve as the primary treatment choice for CS hemangiomas.