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This article is the author's final published version in Brain and Spine, Volume 3, 2023, Article number 102707.

The final published version is available at Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of EUROSPINE, the Spine Society of Europe, EANS, the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies.


Introduction: Cavernous malformations (CM) of the central nervous system constitute rare vascular lesions. They are usually asymptomatic, which has allowed their management to become quite debatable. Even when they become symptomatic their optimal mode and timing of treatment remains controversial.

Research question: A consensus may navigate neurosurgeons through the decision-making process of selecting the optimal treatment for asymptomatic and symptomatic CMs.

Material and methods: A 17-item questionnaire was developed to address controversial issues in relation to aspects of the treatment, surgical planning, optimal surgical strategy for specific age groups, the role of stereotactic radiosurgery, as well as a follow-up pattern. Consequently, a three-stage Delphi process was ran through 19 invited experts with the goal of reaching a consensus. The agreement rate for reaching a consensus was set at 70%.

Results: A consensus for surgical intervention was reached on the importance of the patient’s age, symptomatology, and hemorrhagic recurrence; and the CM’s location and size. The employment of advanced MRI techniques is considered of value for surgical planning. Observation for asymptomatic eloquent or deep-seated CMs represents the commonest practice among our panel. Surgical resection is considered when a deep-seated CM becomes symptomatic or after a second bleeding episode. Asymptomatic, image-proven hemorrhages constituted no indication for surgical resection for our panelists. Consensus was also reached on not resecting any developmental venous anomalies, and on resecting the associated hemosiderin rim only in epilepsy cases.

Discussion and conclusion: Our Delphi consensus provides an expert common practice for specific controversial issues of CM patient management.

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