Jeffrey Thomas, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Cerebrovascular and Neurointerventional Neurosurgery
Diplomate, American Board of Neurological Surgery

Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)

Cerebral AVM is a malformation of brain blood vessels that is usually congenital, i.e., has been present in the person from birth. For unknown reasons, AVMs often cause no symptoms early in life. When they do cause symptoms, bleeding, seizures or headaches may be seen. The peak age for such symptoms is between (30-45) years.

Bleeding from AVM often causes bleeding within the brain tissue rather than SAH. Such bleeding, although usually less dangerous than that from aneurysm, may still be associated with significant neurological injury.

Cerebral AVM has several distinct subtypes, which should be discussed with your neurosurgeon. These subtypes have different profiles for hemorrhage risk and also treatment modalities that may be used.

The subtypes most often treated surgically are tangled clusters of blood vessels that contain no normal brain tissue. Because of this, they may be resected without damaging surrounding normal brain tissue.

The primary goal of surgical treatment is to prevent hemorrhage, although seizure control may also sometimes be achieved through microsurgical resection.

Although microsurgery is the definitive treatment for many AVMs, microcatheter-based techniques and precision radiation modalities may also be used.


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