Published: Aug. 18, 2010
Updated: Aug. 19, 2010
At Duke, we offer a minimally invasive procedure called embolization to plug the blood vessels in an arteriovenous malformations (AVM) on the brain, head, neck, and spine.
In embolization, your surgeon will perform the procedure through a simple puncture in your groin.
The surgeon uses specialized angiography with road-mapping techniques to thread a microcatheter through the groin puncture and up to the site of the AVM.
Angiography is a medical imaging process where contrast dye is injected into the arteries and x-rays are used to show the doctor a clear view of the arteries.
Once the AVM is reached, a number of substances such as glue, onyx, or even a wire coil is placed to block off the abnormal blood vessels without damaging normal blood vessels.
Embolization alone only cures an AVM in less than 10 percent of the cases; because of this, embolization is most often used to make microsurgical treatment safer or radiation therapy more effective.
We continually update and change our embolization methods in order to use the most current tools and techniques and to ensure our patients receive the safest, most effective care.