Caput medusae sign - developmental venous anomalies
Citation, DOI, disclosures and article data
At the time the article was created Frank Gaillard had no recorded disclosures.View Frank Gaillard's current disclosures
At the time the article was last revised Henry Knipe had the following disclosures:
- Radiopaedia Events Pty Ltd, Speaker fees (past)
- Integral Diagnostics, Shareholder (ongoing)
- Micro-X Ltd, Shareholder (ongoing)
These were assessed during peer review and were determined to not be relevant to the changes that were made.View Henry Knipe's current disclosures
The caput medusae sign refers to developmental venous anomalies of the brain, where a number of veins converge centrally into a single draining vein.
The sign is seen on both CT and MRI when contrast medium is administered. Angiographically the caput medusae appearance is seen only in the venous phase.
History and etymology
Caput is the Latin for head, and the sign literally translates as head of Medusa 4. The appearance is reminiscent of the hair of Medusa, one of the three Gorgons of Greek mythology. The Gorgons had venomous snakes for hair and their countenance was said to be so terrifying that anyone who looked upon them was literally turned to stone. Medusa was encountered and beheaded by the Greek demigod hero Perseus 3,5.
- 1. Boukobza M, Enjolras O, Guichard J et al. Cerebral Developmental Venous Anomalies Associated with Head and Neck Venous Malformations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1996;17(5):987-94. PMC8337500 - Pubmed
- 2. Saba P. The Caput Medusae Sign. Radiology. 1998;207(3):599-600. doi:10.1148/radiology.207.3.9609879 - Pubmed
- 3. Robert Graves. The Greek Myths. (2017) ISBN: 9780241982358 - Google Books
- 4. John C. Traupman. The Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary. (2007) ISBN: 9780553590128 - Google Books
- 5. Betty Radice. Who's Who in the Ancient World. (1973) ISBN: 0140510559 - Google Books