The successful treatment of an intracranial arteriovenous malformation poses both technical and conceptual problems to the neurosurgeon. Treatment decisions are made in light of current understanding of the natural history of these lesions. It is important to understand the pros, cons and current indication of open craniotomy vs. gamma knife in the treatment of arteriovenous malformations and the role of endovascular embolization. Surgical removal of an arteriovenous malformation is indicated when the operative risk is less than the morbidity and mortality associated with its natural history. The treatment goal of complete angiographic obliteration of arteriovenous malformations is achieved most effectively by microneurosurgery in low-grade lesions. Large lesions frequently require a combination of embolization and microsurgery. Although recent advances in technology and medical management have allowed previously inoperable arteriovenous malformations to be surgically excised, there is still a small group of arteriovenous malformations that cannot be excised safely due to their size and location. Stereotactic radiosurgery is clearly an important adjunct in the multimodality treatment approach for large arteriovenous malformations. Endovascular embolization can potentially increase safety and efficacy in the treatment of arteriovenous malformations when applied to selective cases with well-defined treatment goals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology