Skull vault haemangioma

Dr Dan J Bell and Dr Bruno Di Muzio et al.

Skull vault haemangiomas (SVH), or haemangiomas of the calvaria, are benign slow-growing vascular neoplasms affecting the skull diploe in any location. 

Please refer to the article on intraosseous haemangiomas for a general discussion of that entity. 

The calvaria is the second most prevalent site for intraosseous haemangiomas, particularly the frontal and parietal bones 1, and represents 0.2% of all osseous tumours 2. Commonly occurs in women in the 4th-5th decades of life.

These tumours are slow-growing and are generally asymptomatic, unless when palpable due to a lump produced by an expansion of the outer table 3

As an intraosseous haemangioma, SVH are classified as venous, cavernous, or capillary type, according to their predominant vascular network. Histologically, it demonstrates hamartomatous vascular tissue within endothelium, but may also contain fat, smooth muscle, fibrous tissue, and thrombus 1-3.

Lytic lesion with a sclerotic rim (usually with a honeycomb- or sunburst-like appearance).

Usually presents as an expansile bone lesion with thin borders and a characteristic sunburst pattern of trabecular thickening radiating from a common centre. Erosions of both internal or external plates can occur and may be associated with internal or external tumour expansion. 

DSA is important for the surgical planning of smaller lesions and embolisation of larger ones.  

Signal intensity is somewhat variable, depending largely on the amount of fat content. 

  • T1: non-homogeneously hypo- to isointense signal
  • T2/FLAIR: hyperintense signal 
  • T1 C+ (Gd): enhancement is often present

​Treatment is not always necessary and indications include: mass effect, haemorrhage control, and aesthetic improvement. Treatment options are:

  • radiation therapy
  • embolisation to reduce intraoperative blood loss
  • surgical resection
  • intralesional ethanol injection
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Article information

rID: 34187
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Haemangiomas of the calvaria
  • Skull vault haemangiomas
  • Skull vault hemangioma
  • Skull vault hemangiomas
  • Cranial vault haemangioma
  • Cranial vault haemangiomas
  • Cranial vault hemangioma
  • Cranial vault hemangiomas

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