Arteriovenous Malformation (AVMs)

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVMs)

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Duke neurosurgeons combine sophisticated imaging and extensive surgical experience to treat arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) -- abnormal connections between arteries and veins that can occur in the brain or spine. We also treat cavernous malformation and dural spinal fistulas, abnormal openings that occur in the dura, which is a leather-like cover over the brain and spinal cord. These vascular system defects can interfere with blood circulation and increase your risk of hemorrhage, seizure, and stroke. Our skilled, experience surgeons monitor changes, and promptly treat AVMs to prevent or reduce your risk for serious complications.

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Treatments

Medication

May be prescribed to treat symptoms including headache, back pain and seizures caused by AVMs.

Microsurgery

Our neurosurgeons use high magnification microscopes and high-resolution imaging to remove AVMs and repair fistulas while minimizing damage to surrounding areas and neurological structures within the brain and spine.

Cerebral Artery Bypass

Reroutes blood flow around blocked, narrowed or damaged arteries in the brain. Often essential in emergencies, a cerebral bypass may be required to restore healthy blood flow.

Embolization

A catheter is inserted and equipped with coils to block the blood flow within the  AVM, or plug the dural spinal fistula.  This procedure may be done in combination with radiosurgery.

Radiosurgery

Computer imaging guides delivery of a single, high dose of radiation directly to the AVM. This procedure is typically used for AVMs that cannot be reached by surgery.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Tests

Cerebral Angiography

A catheter is inserted into a large artery and threaded through the circulatory system. A contrast agent is injected to capture images that allow neuroradiologists (specialists in the nerves found in the brain and spine) to view abnormal connections within arteries and veins and plan the appropriate treatment.

MRI and CT Scans

3-D images of the brain and its blood vessels are studied to analyze AVMs that may be at risk for bleeding or rupture.

Functional MRI

Creates a map of brain activity to assess the risk of brain surgery and plan a surgical approach that minimizes impact and preserves function.

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Why Choose Duke

A Leading Referral Center
We are a leading referral center because of our vast surgical experience managing and treating AVMs. 

Emergency Care
When vessels weaken or rupture as the result of AVM, your potential for seizures, internal bleeding or stroke increases. Emergency surgery may be necessary. Our neurosurgeons work quickly to restore blood flow in vital areas such as the brain or upper spine. We do our best to restore your full health.

Surgical Expertise in Functional Areas of the Brain
We successfully repair arteriovenous malformations in parts of the brain that control key functions.  We carefully map the brain before surgery and then wake the patient to test functionality during the procedure.

Advanced Imaging
We use tiny catheters and dye to create high-resolution images of AVMs in a procedure known as angiography. 

Less Invasive Therapies
We are experts in minimally invasive techniques that repair veins and arteries, reduce brain bleeding, and resume a healthy blood flow.

Best Neurology, Neurosurgery in North Carolina
When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital's nationally ranked neurology and neurosurgery program was named best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.