An arteriovenous malformation repair is a type of surgery. It removes a group of tangled blood vessels. This is called an arteriovenous malformation or AVM. The blood vessels in an AVM may get weak and leak or burst. This can make the tissue near it bleed.
An AVM can happen in many areas of the body. But it is often found in the brain. An AVM in the brain may cause seizures.
Before the surgery, you will go to the hospital to have an angiogram of your head. This is a type of X-ray test. It uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of blood flow in the blood vessels of your head. At this time, you may also have a procedure called AVM embolization. It sends tiny particles or a glue-like liquid into the AVM to block blood flow to it. This can make it easier for the doctor to remove the AVM during your surgery.
To do the surgery, the doctor will make a cut in your scalp. This cut is called an incision. Then the doctor takes out a part of your skull bone so he or she can reach your brain. Next, the doctor removes the AVM in one of two ways. It may be cut out or the doctor may use a laser to remove it.
After the AVM is removed, the doctor uses small metal plates and clamps to put back the piece of your skull. Then the doctor closes the incision with stitches or staples.
You will probably spend about 5 days in the hospital.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Christian G. Zimmerman, MD, FACS, MBA - Neurological Surgery
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