Background: Scalp arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are rare and potentially complex lesions that can be treated in a multimodal fashion. We present here the first successful treatment of a Stage Ib scalp AVF using a balloon-protected, retrograde transvenous embolization with the liquid embolic Onyx.
Method: We describe the case of a 60-year-old man with a scalp AVF that had a fine, diffuse, serpiginous arterial supply, precluding a transarterial approach, and multiple venous drainage paths, including the external jugular vein (EJV). The lesion was successfully embolized exclusively via a femoral transvenous retrograde approach using Onyx with balloon-protection of the EJV to simultaneously prevent pulmonary embolism and enable improved retrograde casting of the fistula-outflow zone.
Findings: The combined use of Onyx with proximal balloon-protection in a transvenous retrograde femoral approach is a novel method that can be used to definitively treat scalp AVFs with a defined catheter-accessible venous outflow.
Conclusion: This technique may be useful when transarterial embolization, direct puncture, or surgical excision are not practical or possible.