Board Review 3 – Case 15

Neuroradiology board review. This lecture is geared towards the ABR core exam for residents, but it would be useful for review for the ABR certifying exam or certificate of added qualification (CAQ) exam for neuroradiology.

More description and the answer (spoiler!) are seen below the video.

This case shows an avidly enhancing mass in the left neck which has the appearance of a tangle of vessels. These images are from a CT angiogram and the enhancement is very similar to the vascular structures, so you are likely looking at a vascular abnormality.

The diagnosis is: soft tissue arteriovenous malformation (AVM)

In this case, the abnormality has a lot of arterial enhancing components and there are associated abnormal veins, so there is a shunt between the arterial and venous structures, making this an AVM.

When looking at soft tissue vascular malformations, there is a relatively simple algorithm you can go through. If a mass has a soft tissue component, then it is a hemangioma because it has a proliferative mass component. If it has high flow components (like in this case), it is an arteriovenous malformation or AVM. If it has multiple cystic regions with fluid levels, it is a lymphatic malformation. The remaining abnormalities with slow flow vessels are venous malformations. There is a lot of overlap, with many vascular malformations having multiple components.

The treatment of these lesions is most commonly surgery, often with embolization before to reduce the amount of bleeding during resection. Sclerotherapy (or injection of a sclerotic agent through the skin) is usually not an option because these are high flow lesions and the agent will disperse to other areas in the body.