Embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations with the diluted Onyx technique: initial experience

Neuroradiology. 2019 Apr;61(4):471-478. doi: 10.1007/s00234-019-02176-2. Epub 2019 Feb 2.


Purpose: Insufficient nidus occlusion is a matter of great concern to routine Onyx embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). This paper described an efficient method which using the diluted Onyx embolization technique to treat brain AVM.

Methods: The diluted Onyx technique was performed in a series of 15 patients with brain AVMs (10 males, 5 females; age range, 11-44 years). It consists of initial embolization with routine Onyx-18, followed by the diluted Onyx (1.5 mL of Onyx-18 diluted with 0.5 mL of DMSO) through the same microcatheter. The technical skills and angiographic and clinical outcomes were analyzed.

Results: A total of 15 embolization sessions were performed with diluted Onyx via 16 arterial feeders in these 15 patients. Each patient underwent one attempt of diluted Onyx through a single feeder except one patient. In this patient, the AVM was simultaneously embolized with diluted Onyx through double microcatheters which were placed in two feeders. When the length of reflux reached to 2 cm (or close to the determined length) and the embolic material could not move distally any more despite some rounds of "injection-reflux-waiting," regular Onyx 18 was changed to diluted Onyx. Antegrade flow of embolic material into the nidus was observed in 12 cases but failed in 3. An average of 90% (range 55-100%) estimated size reduction was achieved, and 6 AVMs were completely obliterated. No functionally relevant complications occurred.

Conclusion: The diluted Onyx technique could be a useful adjunct to routine Onyx embolization which may offer more embolic material penetrating into the nidus of AVM, but additional work is needed to validate this technique.

Keywords: Arteriovenous malformation; Embolization; Onyx.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Child
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / therapy*
  • Male
  • Polyvinyls / administration & dosage
  • Polyvinyls / therapeutic use*
  • Tantalum / administration & dosage
  • Tantalum / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viscosity


  • Drug Combinations
  • Onyx 18
  • Polyvinyls
  • Tantalum