, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 12-18

Parenchymal neurocysticercosis: follow-up and staging by MRI

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Abstract

We describe the evolution of parenchymal cerebral cysticerci on MRI, to assess signs of early cyst degeneration. We studied 15 lesions in four treated and one untreated patient. MRI was performed before therapy and repeated in the 1st month after each course of anticysticercus drugs, every 4 months during the 1st year and then annually; the follow-up period was 8–48 months. Lesions were classified according to changes in four features: cyst content and capsule signal, gadolinium enhancement and oedema signal. We were able to recognise each of the pathological phases; five MRI stages were identified. Stage 1 showed oedema and/or nodular gadolinium enhancement in the tissue invasion phase; stage 2 was cerebrospinal fluid-like signal within a cyst in the vesicular phase; stage 3 showed a thick capsule with an impure liquid content signal and surrounding oedema, in the cystic phase; stage 4 showed the disappearance of the cyst fluid content signal in the degenerative phase; stage 5 showed a calcified lesion in the residual phase. Stage 1 lesions disappeared after therapy; the other progressed from one stage to another. Stage 4 indicated the end of viability of the parasite and determined the point after which treatment was useless. On T2-weighted images changes in the cyst content differed according to the history of the lesion; nodular low intensity followed the natural degeneration of the parasite and a mixed fluid signal with punctate low signal seemed to represent the specific result of therapy. MRI staging can help in the evaluation of indications for treatment and facilitate clinical therapeutic trials.

Received: 30 August 1995 Accepted: 23 January 1996