Contemporary tools in arteriovenous malformations surgery

J Neurosurg Sci. 2018 Aug;62(4):467-477. doi: 10.23736/S0390-5616.18.04398-9. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are rare entities and therefore considered the main challenge for a neurosurgeon. Since the publication of the ARUBA study, one of the most popular debate regards the actual surgical indication for unruptured AVMs. Our group recently published a multicenter review of more than 500 cases underlying the important role of surgery. Over the last few decades, the expanding technologies used in the treatment of AVMs have shown an ongoing improvement overcoming some of the existing difficulties and shortcomings. In this paper, we reviewed the present literature to illustrate the main contemporary tools that, in our opinion, are crucial to obtain the best surgical and clinical outcome. Indocyanin green is nowadays considered a gold standard to identify arterial feeders, draining veins, and to detect any eventual residual. The use of non-stick, bipolar, 2-mm blade microclips, and thulium laser allows to obtain a better bleeding control and nidus removal. The development of the intraoperative ultrasound with neuronavigation, angiosonography, and color-Doppler improves the accuracy of AVM resection. Moreover, improvements have been developed with the use of intraoperative micro-Dopplers combined with flow measurements, which consent to verify the gradual reduction of flow through draining veins. The possibility to perform functional preoperative studies and intraoperative monitoring can be considered as an essential point in the decision making in eloquent or near-eloquent AVMs. Furthermore, the hybrid operating room represents the best expression of an excellent neurovascular team where the use of the intraoperative angiography allows neurosurgeons and neurointerventional radiologists to work at the same time in a combined approach to achieve the best surgical removal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriovenous Fistula / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / trends*