Arteriovenous Malformations Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Arteriovenous Malformations
The goal of treatment is to prevent hemorrhaging, which can lead to strokes. Your doctor will need to determine if your arteriovenous malformation has bled, if it is not too large, and if it is located in an area that can be easily reached and treated.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Medication may be taken to ease the symptoms you may be experiencing, such as headache, back pain, and seizures. This, however, does not eliminate the arteriovenous malformation.
You must work with your doctor to decide whether you'd like to go ahead with surgery to treat your arteriovenous malformation or not. Leaving an arteriovenous malformation untreated may lead to serious complications. However, there is always a risk of nervous system damage with surgery.
There are three different types of surgery available and the choice of which one will depend on the size and location of the arteriovenous malformation. The types of surgery include:
This standard surgery involves doing surgery on the area of the brain or spinal cord where the arteriovenous malformation, including the fistula, is located. This procedure is the most thorough treatment for arteriovenous malformations.
Endovascular embolization is often used for arteriovenous malformations that are located deeper within the brain. Regular surgery cannot be used for risk of damage to the surrounding tissue in the brain or spinal cord.
A surgeon will guide a catheter through your arteries until it reaches the arteriovenous malformation. Then a substance will be inserted to plug the fistula. This procedure does not destroy the arteriovenous malformation but it does reduce the blood flow to the arteriovenous malformation and make surgery safer.
This procedure uses a beam of highly concentrated radiation focused directly on the arteriovenous malformation. The radiation damages the walls of the blood vessels leading to the arteriovenous malformation. This procedure does not always totally destroy the arteriovenous malformation, especially if it is very large.
Sometimes, arteriovenous malformations are best left alone based on their size and location. It is best to speak with your physician about your decision.