Diagnosis and treatment of a superficial upper eyelid arteriovenous malformation

Orbit. 2008;27(4):301-3. doi: 10.1080/01676830802225186.


Combined embolization and surgical excision as a safe treatment for a high flow superficial upper eyelid anteriovenous malformation.

Introduction: Orbital arteriovenous malformations (AVM) may cause significant morbidity including chronic pain and cosmetic disfigurement. These rare lesions require a multidisciplinary approach. A case of an orbital high-flow AVM treated subsequently by an mterventional radiologist and oculoplastic surgeon is presented.

Materials and methods: Clinical assessment, computed tomography and digital substruction angiography revealed a high-flow AVM. Transvenous and percutaneous embolization was followed by surgical excision.

Results: A 1.5 cm, slowly growing, compressible pulsating lesion in the left upper eyelid of a 23 year old man was found. Eye motility and ophthalmologic examination were normal. Valsava manoeuvre didn't increase the size. Imaging revealed a high-flow AVM feeded by the arteria temporalis superficialis (itself feeded by the a. supraorbitalis and supratrochlearis). Draining vessels were the superior ophthalmic vein and a superficial lateral orbital vein. This malformation was first embolized. To prevent iatrogenic embolization of the sinus cavernous, the vein draining into the superior ophthalmic was occluded by a transvenous approach, followed by a percutaneous injection with diluted glue (equal amounts of glubran-2 and lipiodol). The remaining low-flow lesion was then safely excised.

Conclusion: High-flow orbital AVM represent a considerable treatment challenge. Good cosmetical and functional outcome was obtained safely by subsequent embolization and surgical excision. When treating these rare malformations it is of the highest importance to coordinate the interdisciplinary efforts.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Enbucrilate / analogs & derivatives
  • Enbucrilate / therapeutic use
  • Eyelids / blood supply*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Artery / abnormalities*
  • Orbit / blood supply*
  • Temporal Arteries / abnormalities*
  • Tissue Adhesives / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color
  • Veins / abnormalities*


  • Tissue Adhesives
  • Enbucrilate