Arteriovenous malformations of the brain: choosing embolic materials to enhance safety and ease of excision

J Neurosurg. 1992 Aug;77(2):217-22. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.77.2.0217.


The authors report their experience with surgical resection of 108 previously embolized arteriovenous malformations (AVM's). Embolization was performed via only transfemoral catheterization in 70 lesions and via the surgical exposure of feeding vessels in 32. The remaining six patients were referred for resection following silicone sphere embolization elsewhere. Materials used included polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) foam, platinum microcoils, detachable silicone balloons, surgical silk, a mixture of 33% ethanol and microfibrillar collagen, and isobutyl cyanoacrylate (IBCA). It is believed that proximal arterial occlusion with balloons is an inferior choice for preresection embolization, because the technical difficulty of placement is high and the nidus of the AVM is unaffected. Vascular coagulation and section and AVM retraction are more difficult with IBCA; therefore, this is also considered an inferior choice. Among the materials studied, the combination of PVA for distal occlusion and microcoils for proximal occlusion appears to be the superior choice. Fewer complications (stroke or hemorrhage) are seen when intraarterial Amytal (amobarbital) testing is used to guide the embolization. Data regarding toxicity, oncogenicity, and vascular metabolism or recanalization associated with PVA, IBCA, and n-butyl cyanoacrylate are reviewed.

MeSH terms

  • Bucrylate / pharmacokinetics
  • Bucrylate / therapeutic use*
  • Catheterization
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / therapeutic use*


  • Bucrylate
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol