Brain miliary enhancement

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Miliary enhancement refers to the presence of multiple small, monomorphic, enhancing foci on T1-weighted post-contrast MRI images. In the absence of a clear clinical presentation, a broad differential diagnosis may result in invasive procedures and possibly brain biopsy for diagnostic purposes. Methods: An extensive review of the literature is provided for diseases that may present with miliary enhancement on T1-weighted brain MR images. Additional disease-specific findings, both clinical and radiological, are summarized and categorized by the presence or absence of perivascular space involvement. Results: Miliary pattern of enhancement may be due to a variety of underlying causes, including inflammatory, infectious, nutritional or neoplastic processes. The recognition of disease spread along the perivascular spaces in addition to the detection or exclusion of disease-specific features on MRI images, such as leptomeningeal enhancement, presence of haemorrhagic lesions, spinal cord involvement and specific localisation or systemic involvement, allows to narrow the potential differential diagnoses. Conclusion: A systematic approach to disease-specific findings from both clinical and radiological perspectives might facilitate diagnostic work-up, and recognition of disease spread along the perivascular spaces may help narrowing down differential diagnoses and may help to minimize the use of invasive diagnostic procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-300
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Cite this