Endovascular balloon-assisted embolization of intracranial and cervical arteriovenous malformations using dual-lumen coaxial balloon microcatheters and Onyx: initial experience

Neurosurgery. 2013 Dec;73(2 Suppl Operative):ons238-43; discussion ons243. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000186.


Background: Ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (Onyx) is widely used for the embolization of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain, head, and neck. Balloon-assisted Onyx embolization may provide additional unique advantages in the treatment of AVMs in comparison with traditional catheter-based techniques.

Objective: To report our initial experience in performing balloon-assisted AVM embolization for brain and neck AVMs with the use of the new Scepter-C and Scepter-XC coaxial dual-lumen balloon microcatheters.

Methods: Balloon-assisted transarterial embolization was performed in a series of 7 patients with AVMs (4 with brain AVMs, 1 with a dural arteriovenous fistula, and 2 with neck AVMs) by using Onyx delivered through the lumen of Scepter-C or Scepter XC coaxial balloon microcatheters. Following the initial balloon-catheter navigation into a feeding artery and the subsequent inflation of the balloon, the embolization was performed by using Onyx 18, Onyx 34, or both.

Results: A total of 12 embolization sessions were performed via 17 arterial feeders in these 7 patients. In 1 patient, there was an arterial perforation from the inflation of the balloon; in all others, the embolization goals were successfully achieved with no adverse events.

Conclusion: The balloon microcatheters showed excellent navigability, and there were no problems with retrieval or with the repeated inflation and deflation of the balloons. A proximal Onyx plug, which is crucial in many AVM embolizations, was not necessary with this technique. Additionally, fluoroscopy and procedural times seemed lower with this technique compared with conventional embolization methods.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Balloon Occlusion / instrumentation
  • Balloon Occlusion / methods*
  • Catheters*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / surgery*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyvinyls / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tantalum / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Drug Combinations
  • Onyx 18
  • Polyvinyls
  • Tantalum