Sometimes arteriovenous malformations (AVM) pose a particular risk for brain bleeding (hemorrhage) or other serious complications but are within safe reach of our neurosurgeons. If so, they may recommend AVM resection to surgically and immediately remove the misconnected tangle of veins and arteries.
Learn more about the symptoms of arteriovenous malformations, as well as our diagnostic approach.
AVM Resection at St. Joseph’s Hospital
Our surgeons have years of experience with AVM resection — the only type of AVM treatment that guarantees complete removal. When you come to us, we make sure you get:
- Thorough consideration of alternatives: While AVM resection is a proven technique, we use the standard Spetzler-Martin (S-M) Grading System to make surgery is the best and safest option for your particular condition. Other AVM treatments include our endovascular embolization or stereotactic radiotherapy. We may also recommend continued, cautious monitoring of the malformation to avoid unnecessary treatment.
- Advanced tools and safeguards: Our neurosurgeons carefully work around delicate brain tissue during their AVM resections, using special surgical microscopes and a computer-assisted guidance system.
- Team approach: The best AVM care is delivered by different specialists working as a single team, with neurologists and interventional radiologists joining our neurosurgeons
- Combination therapy: When appropriate, our neurosurgeons combine other treatments with resection — for example, endovascular embolization before surgery can reduce the operation’s complexity, duration and blood loss.
AVM Resection: What to Expect
While we tailor our resection approach for each patient, the operations share the same steps:
- You receive general anesthesia, putting you completely to sleep.
- Your neurosurgeon makes a small incision on the scalp and removes a tiny section of skull (craniotomy)
- Using a special microscope, your neurosurgeon delicately navigates past the outer brain tissue.
- The problematic area is clipped off, preserving the arteries that are still supplying the brain properly.
- The malformation is removed.
- Your neurosurgeon secures the removed skull fragment with special plates and closes the scalp incision.
- You recover in the hospital for 4 to 6 days in most cases.
- Before discharge, a follow-up imaging test (angiogram) confirms that the AVM is completely gone.
AVM resection is not always possible when the malformation is too large, too deep or too close to sensitive areas of the brain controlling speech, motor function and the senses.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.