Therapy of brain arteriovenous malformations: multimodality treatment from a balanced standpoint

Neurosurgery. 2006 Nov;59(5 Suppl 3):S148-57; discussion S3-13. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000237408.95785.64.


The three therapeutic modalities for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) treatment (surgery, embolization, and radiotherapy) developed in the past years with specific tools, each tool with its own qualities. Soon after the implementation of embolization for treatment of AVMs, this technique was used in combination with microsurgery; since the development of radiosurgery, treatment algorithms combining embolization with surgery and eventual subsequent radiosurgery, embolization with radiosurgery, or surgery with subsequent radiosurgery have been reported. These different combinations have been in use under the term multimodality treatment for many years, but the algorithms regarding the combination of tools, which tool has priority, and how the risk levels of each tool are assessed shows great variability among institutions. Centers with a surgical background see embolization as a technique to increase surgical feasibility and radiosurgery as a tool to complete subtotal AVM excision. Institutions with an endovascular background embolize AVMs with the aim of maximal occlusion rates and view surgery or radiosurgery as a technique to be used if the goal of total endovascular occlusion cannot be achieved. Radiosurgeons receive patients after incomplete embolization or surgical extirpation or a combination of both.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis / trends
  • Catheterization / trends*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / trends
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / trends*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / trends*
  • Radiosurgery / trends*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / trends*