Original Research

MRI characteristics of intracranial masses in the paediatric population of KwaZulu-Natal: A neuroimaging-based study

Nompumelelo P. Gumede, Sithembiso M. Langa, Basil Enicker
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 25, No 1 | a2042 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v25i1.2042 | © 2021 Nompumelelo P. Gumede, Sithembiso M. Langa, Basil Enicker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 November 2020 | Published: 28 May 2021

About the author(s)

Nompumelelo P. Gumede, Department of Radiology, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Sithembiso M. Langa, Department of Radiology, Jackpersad and Partners Inc., Durban, South Africa
Basil Enicker, Department of Neurosurgery, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: MRI is the imaging modality of choice for the assessment of intracranial masses in children. Imaging is vital in planning further management.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the common intracranial masses and their imaging characteristics in the paediatric population referred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for MRI of the brain.

Method: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of paediatric patients (aged from birth to 18 years) who underwent MRI investigations for intracranial masses between January 2010 and December 2016.

Results: A total of 931 MRI brain scans were performed. One hundred and seven scans met the inclusion criteria, of which 92 were primary brain tumours and 15 were inflammatory masses. The majority were females (56%). The mean age was 12 ± 4.52 (range of 3–18 years). The most common presenting symptom was seizures (70/107, 65.4%). We categorised the masses according to supra- and infratentorial compartments. The most common site for masses was the supratentorial compartment (n = 56, 52%). The most common masses in the supratentorial compartment were craniopharyngiomas (14/45, 31.1%), whilst in the infratentorial compartment, the most common masses were medulloblastomas (24/47, 51.1%).

Conclusion: In our series, the supratentorial compartment was the commonest site for intracranial masses. The most common tumour in the infratentorial compartment was medulloblastoma. This information is vital in formulating differential diagnoses of intracranial masses.


intracranial masses; brain tumours; brain abscess; tuberculosis; magnetic resonance imaging


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