What is an intracranial hemangioma?
An intracranial hemangioma is a hemangioma that is inside the head, within the skull. As patients with PHACE syndrome are screened with MRI and MRA, intracranial hemangiomas can be identified. These lesions are usually found near areas of the skull called the internal auditory canal (a channel containing nerves that connect the ear to the brain) or the cerebellopontine angle (space in the base of the brain between the cerebellum and the pons). Intracranial hemangiomas are usually located on the same side as the skin hemangioma.
What symptoms are seen with intracranial hemangiomas?
Remarkably, most infants with a hemangioma in the head have no symptoms and no problems with movement, coordination, language, or sight. Further research needs to be done to determine if there are subtle effects that we may not yet know about. Hemangiomas located in the internal ear canal may cause hearing loss.
How common are intracranial hemangiomas in PHACE syndrome?
One study found 12 percent of patients with PHACE syndrome have intracranial hemangiomas. More intracranial hemangiomas are being identified in patients with PHACE syndrome now that MRI and MRA testing is becoming more common.
How are intracranial hemangiomas diagnosed and treated?
Intracranial hemangiomas are diagnosed through MRI and MRA of the brain. Children with a hemangioma in the internal auditory canal or signs of hearing loss should be evaluated for hearing loss.
Since most intracranial hemangiomas have no symptoms, they are often treated with observation alone. Patients may be given treatment to decrease the size of the hemangiomas if they are causing symptoms. In some cases, patients receiving treatment to manage their skin hemangioma will find that the intracranial hemangiomas usually decrease in size as well.