What Is a Hyperdense Lesion?

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  • Written By: Mark Wollacott
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 28 December 2019
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A hyperdense lesion is a closely-compacted area of tissue that has been damaged. Such lesions can appear in all known organisms including humans. Tissues can be damaged and turned into lesions by a large number of causes including physical trauma and disease. They can affect any part of the body including the brain and major organs and can appear in cavities, too.

The word lesion is derived from the Latin word laesio, meaning "injury." Lesions are hard to pin down, as they come in a number of forms from chickenpox to abnormal growths from late-stage cancer. Each type itself may have a large number of causes. There are, however, two main broad types of lesion: benign and malignant.

A benign hyperdense lesion will not grow any bigger than it already is. This means that the damage has already been done and the lesion is the result of that damage. A malignant lesion, on the other hand, may continue to grow and spread throughout the body. While both may be dangerous to the human body, malignant ones are more dangerous because they represent a continuing threat.


Skin lesions are relatively easy to spot. Others may appear as lumps under the surface of the skin. Internal hyperdense lesions might have some symptoms such as pain around them or none at all. An X-ray computed tomography (CT) scan is used to produce a three-dimensional representation of the area being scanned and will highlight any lesions in the area. Such scans are used to find lesions in areas such as the kidneys, liver, lungs and brain.

Causes of some lesions can be easy to pinpoint. The chickenpox lesion, for example, is caused by the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV). The hyperdense lesion, when found in other locations, could be caused by personal injury, viruses, cancer and bacterial infections. Brain lesions can be caused by strokes as well as cancer. A lesion found in the blood is likely to have occurred because of a prior intra-arterial thrombosis.

Treatment depends on the type of lesion and its location. Malignant lesions need to be removed or treated with chemotherapy. Usually the lesion’s treatment depends on the root cause of the problem and is a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself.

The prognosis for a hyperdense lesion, as with the cause and treatment, depends on what type of lesion it is. The benign lesion is an indication the damage has already been done and the root cause of that damage needs to be treated. In these cases, the prognosis is good. Malignant lesions have a worse prognosis because they indicate cancer in its later stages and require more treatment.


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Post 1

I am a 54 year old woman who has had viral meningitis/encephalitis twice within 10 years. Both times my speech was affected (jumbled). I had an MRI two and a half months before the onset of my second illness. The MRI revealed 2 nonspecific T2 hyperintense foci within the posterior parietal/occipital white matter. I went back for a follow up MRI the other night, again the same T2 hyperintense foci are present. I am concerned that this might be what is contributing to the meningitis/encephalitis. Just wondering if anyone has any advice?

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