Symptoms of a Cavernous Malformation

Many people with a cerebral cavernous malformation will never experience any symptoms. In others, a cav-mal may cause:

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Unsteadiness or loss of balance
  • Hearing or vision changes
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)

Since these symptoms can be signs of many different conditions, a doctor will generally order an MRI scan of the brain to diagnose the problem. (See Diagnosing and Treating a Cavernous Malformation.)

In some people, symptoms seem to come and go, lessening for a while and then coming back again. This may mean that the cav-mal has caused a small hemorrhage, which worsens the symptoms; as the leaked blood is reabsorbed into the brain the patient feels better, only to experience symptoms again with the next small incident of blood leakage.

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Our Care Team

  • Chair and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
Phone: 718-780-3070
  • Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Fellowship Director, Endovascular Neurosurgery
Phone: 212-746-5149
  • Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (Brooklyn and Manhattan)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan); 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)

Reviewed by Philip E. Stieg, PhD, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: October 2023

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787