Intraoperative angiography during microsurgical removal of arteriovenous malformations in children

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2010 Nov;6(5):435-43. doi: 10.3171/2010.8.PEDS10134.


Object: Confirming the successful management of pediatric arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) requires high-quality postoperative digital subtraction angiography. Although the role of intraoperative angiography during the microsurgical removal of AVMs is well established in adults, the technique has several limitations including poor image quality, uniplanar image acquisition, and absent full heparin protection. Here, the authors report on their experience with high-quality intraoperative angiography during the surgical management of pediatric AVMs in their image-guided therapy (IGT) facility.

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed the demographic, clinical, and radiological characteristics of 22 patients who underwent the surgical management of AVMs at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, with the aid of high-quality intraoperative or immediate postresection cerebral angiography via a transfemoral approach.

Results: Between January 2000 and August 2009, 18 children (mean age 13.05 ± 4.04 years, range 4-21 years) underwent both surgical management of an AVM and intraoperative cerebral angiography at an IGT facility. An additional 4 children underwent angiography immediately after surgery in the regular operating room while under the same anesthesia. The mean AVM size was 2.55 ± 1.43 cm (range 1-6 cm) with a mean Spetzler-Martin grade of 2.27 (range 1-4). Intraoperative angiography in 4 of the 18 patients demonstrated residual AVM requiring additional resection. One patient demonstrated residual AVM on immediate postoperative angiography and underwent immediate reoperation. Successful excision of the residual AVM was confirmed on angiography the following day in that case. Procedural complications occurred in connection with 1 (3.3%) of 30 angiograms, including asymptomatic transient nonfilling of an ophthalmic artery, which was resolved on follow-up angiography. Negative intraoperative angiograms were confirmed with follow-up angiograms in 15 (93.75%) of 16 patients at a mean of 9.93 ± 5.70 months. One patient with a negative intraoperative angiogram demonstrated a tiny residual AVM on follow-up angiography at 8 months (false-negative rate 6.25%), but had a negative preoperative angiogram 1 year later in the IGT facility. No patient with a negative intraoperative angiogram required further AVM-directed treatment.

Conclusions: Intraoperative angiography is a safe and effective adjunct to the surgical management of AVMs in children. This novel approach allows the pre-, intra-, and postoperative acquisition of high-quality images, which can help guide the resection of AVMs, especially those that are small, diffuse, or of a complex angioarchitecture.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction* / instrumentation
  • Cerebral Angiography* / instrumentation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Intraoperative Care* / instrumentation
  • Male
  • Microsurgery* / instrumentation
  • Operating Rooms
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Equipment
  • Young Adult