Objective: This study sought to describe a single institution's experience treating arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the basal ganglia, thalamus, and insula in a multimodal fashion.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all deep AVMs treated at our institution between 1997 and 2011 with attention to patient selection, treatment strategies, and radiographic and functional outcomes.
Results: A total of 97 patients underwent initial treatment at our institution. 64% presented with hemorrhage with 29% located in the basal ganglia, 41% in the thalamus, and 30% in the insula. 80% were Spetzler-Martin grade III-IV. Initial treatment was microsurgical resection in 42%, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in 45%, and observation in 12%. Radiographic cure was achieved in 54% after initial surgical or SRS treatment (71% and 23%, respectively) and in 63% after subsequent treatments, with good functional outcomes in 78% (median follow-up 2.2 years). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed treatment group and age as factors associated with radiographic cure, whereas Spetzler-Martin score and time to follow-up were significantly associated with improved/unchanged functional status at time of last follow-up. Posttreatment hemorrhage occurred in 11% (7% of surgical and 18% of SRS patients).
Conclusions: Modern treatment of deep AVMs includes a multidisciplinary approach utilizing microsurgery, SRS, embolization, and observation. Supplementary grading adds meaningfully to traditional Spetzler-Martin grading to guide patient selection. Surgical resection is more likely to result in obliteration compared with SRS, and is associated with satisfactory results in carefully selected patients.
Keywords: Arteriovenous malformations; Basal ganglia; Radiosurgery; Surgery; Thalamus; Therapeutic embolization.
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