Cavernous malformations refer to abnormally formed blood vessels that appear like a small mulberry in the spinal cord or the brain. These malformations can be hereditary in nature and may occur on their own.
Malformations can leak blood, causing bleeding inside the brain. This can lead to neurological symptoms that depend on the location of the malformation in the nervous system. These symptoms can include numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, vision loss, unsteadiness or double vision along with difficulties in swallowing or speaking. Seizures may also be experienced as a response to this condition. One may also have to deal with repeat hemorrhages that can occur as soon as the first hemorrhage occurs or later. It is possible for the hemorrhages to never occur at all.
Cerebral cavernous malformations do not have the brain tissue within the malformations like in the case of other lesions such as arteriovenous malformations. They usually tend to not have any defined borders. They are dynamic structures that change in size as well as number over a period of time. The size that they are of usually ranges from a few millimeters to centimeters.
CCM is said to be present in up to 0.5 percent of the general population and they tend to account for a large proportion of the brain as well as spinal vascular malformations. Even though the prevalence of people with at least one CCM lesion is pretty high, more than 40 percent of the affected individuals may never really experience symptoms or be diagnosed with the medical condition.
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