The endovascular neurosurgeons at Norton Neuroscience Institute provide comprehensive arteriovenous malformation (AVM) treatment to patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana. Our endovascular neurosurgeons are fellowship trained in advanced endovascular techniques. They can embolize, or block, an AVM to make surgery safer.
What is a Brain AVM?
A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain. Although AVMs usually form before birth, symptoms may occur at any age. Brain AVMs have an approximately 4 percent per year risk of bleeding into the brain. AVM bleeding can cause significant neurological deficits; it is even fatal in about 10 percent of cases. AVMs also can irritate the surrounding brain, which can cause seizures and headaches.
Most AVMs can be treated using a two-step treatment, stereotactic radiosurgery or conservative therapy.
- Endovascular embolization: A catheter is inserted through a leg artery into the AVM vessels in the brain. The AVM is then completely filled with surgical glue (Onyx), shutting it down from the inside.
- Surgical resection: Brain surgery is performed through an opening in the skull to remove the AVM. This is much easier and safer if the AVM has already been embolized with Onyx glue.
A focused beam of radiation is directed at the AVM, which causes shrinkage and closure over a two- to three-year time period.
An AVM is closely monitored in rare cases where the risk of treatment exceeds the risks associated with living with the AVM.
AVM Care Tailored to You
AVM treatment options are tailored to individual patients. Patient preference and age, as well as AVM size and location, are important considerations.
A bleeding AVM is a medical emergency. The goal of treatment is to prevent further complications by controlling bleeding and seizures and, if possible, removing the AVM.