Arteriovenous malformations of the posterior fossa. Clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluation, and surgical treatment

J Neurosurg. 1986 Jun;64(6):849-56. doi: 10.3171/jns.1986.64.6.0849.


Infratentorial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) represent only 5% to 7% of all AVM's in major series. Since 1977, 32 patients with intracranial intradural malformations of the brain stem or cerebellum have been evaluated at the University of Texas Health Science Center, 30 of whom underwent surgical treatment. Twenty-three patients presented with intracranial hemorrhage, which was recurrent in 11 cases, and nine patients were evaluated for progressive brain-stem or cerebellar deficits. A history of progressive deficits was unusual in the group that presented with hemorrhage, and a prior or subsequent hemorrhage was rare in the patients initially evaluated for progressive deficits. Seventeen of these AVM's were located in the vermis, seven within the cerebellar hemisphere, two in the tonsil, two in the cerebellopontine angle, and four within the brain stem. Operative intervention was directed at primary resection in 15 cases, staged resection in seven, embolization and resection in five, and evacuation of hematoma in three. Operative mortality in this surgical series was 7%, with significant morbidity in 13%. Use of modern microsurgical techniques in removal of posterior fossa AVM's may offer results better than the natural history of the disease process, especially in patients who present with hemorrhage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Stem / blood supply
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cerebellar Diseases / surgery
  • Cerebellum / blood supply
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / diagnosis
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / surgery