Radiosurgery and brain tolerance: an analysis of neurodiagnostic imaging changes after gamma knife radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1992;23(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(92)90539-t.


In order to analyze complications and the factors responsible for the development of serial imaging changes after stereotactic radiosurgery for intracranial arteriovenous malformations, we reviewed serial post-treatment magnetic resonance imaging scans in 72 patients. Median follow-up was 23 months (range 12 to 35 months). Twenty patients developed post-radiosurgical imaging changes consisting of new regions of increased T2 signal on magnetic resonance imaging in brain surrounding the arteriovenous malformation (two year actuarial incidence of 31%). Imaging changes were associated with headache or new neurological deficits in nine of these 20 (45%) and remained asymptomatic in 11 (55%). Symptoms developed in three of 13 patients with imaging changes in the cerebral cortex or cerebellum, in contrast to six of seven patients who had symptoms with imaging changes in the brainstem (p = .028). The onset of imaging changes varied from five to 18 months after radiosurgery (median, 12 months). Serial follow-up scans four to 25 months after the onset of imaging changes were available for review in 16 patients. Post-radiosurgical imaging changes completely resolved within 4 to 19 months in ten patients and have not yet completely resolved after 6 to 25 months in six patients. The projected actuarial rate for resolution of imaging changes was 88%, 19 months after onset; the median time for resolution was 14 months. Univariate analysis revealed that the development of imaging changes was significantly associated with treatment volume (p = .025), the risk predicted from the integrated logistic formula (p = .042), and the number of isocenters treated (p = .042). In multivariate analysis, volume was the only factor significantly associated with the development of imaging changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / radiation effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / epidemiology
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects*