This article is the first of a two-part series on intracranial calcification in childhood. Intracranial calcification can be either physiological or pathological. Physiological intracranial calcification is not an expected neuroimaging finding in the neonatal or infantile period but occurs, as children grow older, in the pineal gland, habenula, choroid plexus and occasionally the dura mater. Pathological intracranial calcification can be broadly divided into infectious, congenital, endocrine/metabolic, vascular and neoplastic. The main goals in Part 1 are to discuss the chief differences between physiological and pathological intracranial calcification, to discuss the histological characteristics of intracranial calcification and how intracranial calcification can be detected across neuroimaging modalities, to emphasize the importance of age at presentation and intracranial calcification location, and to propose a comprehensive neuroimaging approach toward the differential diagnosis of the causes of intracranial calcification. Finally, in Part 1 the authors discuss the most common causes of infectious intracranial calcification, especially in the neonatal period, and congenital causes of intracranial calcification. Various neuroimaging modalities have distinct utilities and sensitivities in the depiction of intracranial calcification. Age at presentation, intracranial calcification location, and associated neuroimaging findings are useful information to help narrow the differential diagnosis of intracranial calcification. Intracranial calcification can occur in isolation or in association with other neuroimaging features. Intracranial calcification in congenital infections has been associated with clastic changes, hydrocephalus, chorioretinitis, white matter abnormalities, skull changes and malformations of cortical development. Infections are common causes of intracranial calcification, especially neonatal TORCH (toxoplasmosis, other [syphilis, varicella-zoster, parvovirus B19], rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes) infections.
- Computed tomography
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Neurocutaneous syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging