Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
: 2011  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 58--59

Superficial siderosis

Sameer Vyas1, Suresh Giragani1, Paramjeet Singh1, Anil Bansali2, Niranjan Khandelwal1,  
1 Department of Radiodiagnosis, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Sameer Vyas
Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh

How to cite this article:
Vyas S, Giragani S, Singh P, Bansali A, Khandelwal N. Superficial siderosis.Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2011;14:58-59

How to cite this URL:
Vyas S, Giragani S, Singh P, Bansali A, Khandelwal N. Superficial siderosis. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Aug 19 ];14:58-59
Available from:

Full Text


A 40-year-old male presented with complaints of difficulty in walking, decreased cognitive functions, and hardness of hearing since one year. Neurological examination revealed deficiency in cognitive functions of higher intellectual functions. The gait was markedly ataxic with abnormal tests for cerebellar function. Audiometry demonstrated bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revealed hemorrhagic lesion in sellar-suprasellar region suggestive of pituitary adenoma [Figure 1] and [Figure 3]. There was cerebellar atrophy with extensive hypointenities involving leptomeniges predominantly involving structures of posterior fossa on T2 and FLAIR sequences consistent with superficial siderosis [Figure 1],[Figure 2],[Figure 3],[Figure 4]. Post-operative histopathology of the sellar-suprasellar lesion showed pituitary adenoma.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}{Figure 4}

Superficial siderosis is a rare chronic progressive neurological dysfunction characterized by classical triad of symptoms consisting of sensorineural hearing loss, cerebellar ataxia, and myelopathy. [1],[2],[3] There is deposition of blood breakdown products (hemosiderin) from a source of bleeding in subarachnoid space in the subpial layer of the central nervous system (CNS). Common causes of superficial siderosis include intracranial tumors (21%), head or back trauma (13%), and arteriovenous malformations or aneurysms (9%). [1] Other less common causes include post-surgical changes, brachial plexus injury, amyloid angiopathy, and chronic subdural hematoma. However, despite extensive imaging, a source of bleeding may not be evident in 35% of cases. [1],[3] The clinical presentation closely mimics a degenerative cerebellar disorder.[3] Hypointense linear low signal (rim) on T2 images outlining the contours of brain and cranial nerves is the characteristic imaging finding. There is predisposition of CNS structures like cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord likely due to the presence of specialized heme absorbing ferritin-producing glial cells in these organs. [2] An intraspinal fluid-filled collection is frequently seen on spine MR imaging in patients with idiopathic siderosis. [3] Treatment of siderosis is identification and treatment of the underlying cause. Surgical removal of source of the bleeding is mainstay in treatment and medical therapy with chelating agents is controversial. With the advent of neuroimaging, this unusual entity can be diagnosed early in the course at which stage it is reversible.


1Levy M, Turtzo C, Linas RH. Superficial siderosis: A case report and review of literature. Nat Clin Pract Neurol 2007;3:54-8.
2Leussink VI, Flachenecker P, Brechtelsbauer D, et al. Superficial siderosis of the central nervous system: Pathogenetic heterogeneity and therapeutic approaches. Acta Neurol Scand 2003;107:54-61.
3Kumar N. Neuroimaging in superficial siderosis: An in-depth look. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2010;31 5-14.