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Pseudo-insular glioma syndrome: illustrative cases.

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Lower-grade insular gliomas often appear as expansile and infiltrative masses on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, there are nonneoplastic lesions of the insula, such as demyelinating disease and vasculopathies, that can mimic insular gliomas.


The authors report two patients who presented with headaches and were found to have mass lesions concerning for lower-grade insular glioma based on MRI obtained at initial presentation. However, on the immediate preoperative MRI obtained a few weeks later, both patients had spontaneous and complete resolution of the insular lesions.


Tumor mimics should always be in the differential diagnosis of brain masses, including those involving the insula. The immediate preoperative MRI (within 24-48 hours of surgery) must be compared carefully with the initial presentation MRI to assess interval change that suggests tumor mimics to avoid unnecessary surgical intervention.

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