Stereotactic Fractionated Radiotherapy for Cavernous Venous Malformations (Hemangioma) of the Orbit

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Cavernous malformations (hemangioma) of the orbit, when symptomatic, can often be treated successfully with complete surgical excision. However, when they involve local structures in their capsule, are situated in the orbital apex, or extend through the superior orbital fissure, the risks of surgery increase significantly. In such cases, alternative treatment modalities can be explored. In this study, the authors report on the use of fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (SFRT) for the treatment of surgically complicated cavernous malformations.


In this retrospective cohort study, the authors reviewed the clinical and radiologic records of 5 patients treated with SFRT over the past 5 years.


Patients ranged in age from 30 to 65 years, and 3 out of 5 were female. Two cases involved the cavernous sinus, one involved the ophthalmic artery, one involved the posterior ciliary artery, and the last traversed the superior orbital fissure. Four had significant visual field defects. Each was treated with SFRT. A total dose of 4000 cGy divided into 20,200 cGy fractions was applied for 3 cases, while 2 other cases were treated with total doses of 4563 and 4959 cGy divided into 28 × 162 cGy and 29 × 171 cGy fractions, respectively. Rapid resolution of visual field defect was noted by 3 months, and overall tumor shrinkage was on average 60% (range: 32–79%). Follow-up was on average 23.4 months (range: 5–50 months). No complications of treatment were noted.


For symptomatic cavernous malformations demonstrating anatomical position that may increase risk of surgical excision, SFRT is an effective and safe method to control lesion size and improve visual function.

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