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Spinal arteriovenous malformation (AVM) refers to a group of conditions where there is a tangle of blood vessels in, on or around the spinal cord. The blood vessels didn’t form correctly, and there aren’t capillaries to transfer oxygen from the blood to the spine. Instead, blood flows from arteries directly to veins to resume its trip back to the heart.
This interruption of the normal blood flow robs the spinal cord of oxygen, leading cells to break down and die.
The knot of blood vessels also can press on the spinal cord, leading to disability, pain or other issues. An AVM rupture is a serious condition, as blood hemorrhages into the confined space of the spinal column. The blood can seep into nearby areas of the body and push on the spinal cord, causing damage.
An AVM can be anywhere in the body. Spinal AVMs often have no symptoms and are found while diagnosing or treating another condition.
The combined team of orthopedic spine and neuroscience specialists at Norton Leatherman spine has long experience treating spinal AVMs. Our physicians have the expertise and technology to diagnose and precisely identify the location of an AVM. You’ll get a customized plan of action for addressing your condition.
If there are symptoms at all, they can be different from person to person and can depend on the severity and location of the tangle. Sometimes symptoms appear when the patient is in their 20s, although occasionally symptoms can appear in younger people.
Symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually and tend to worsen as the condition progresses. Common symptoms include:
Your specialist physician may perform a spinal angiogram, MRI, CT or other scan to show what the blood vessels look like and where the spinal vascular malformation is.
Depending on your condition, physicians have a range of treatments for a spinal AVM. They include:
Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.
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