Patient outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery for "operable" arteriovenous malformations

Neurosurgery. 1994 Jul;35(1):1-7; discussion 7-8. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199407000-00001.


To define the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery performed for smaller volume arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) that are potentially suitable for surgical removal, we retrospectively reviewed our 4-year experience in 65 patients who declined microsurgery. All 65 patients had Spetzler-Martin Grade I or II AVMs and a minimum follow-up of 24 months (median, 29 mo). Symptomatic improvement after radiosurgery occurred in 52% of patients with seizures and in 63% of patients with headaches. The annual risk of AVM hemorrhage during the latency interval after radiosurgery was 3.7%. Five patients (7.7%) had a subsequent hemorrhage (all within 8 mo of radiosurgery); two died, and three recovered (one after hematoma evacuation and two with conservative management). Forty-seven patients (72%) returned to their previous employment status or activity level within 1 week of radiosurgery (92% within 1 yr). No patient suffered radiation-related complications. Twenty-seven (84%) of 32 patients evaluated by postradiosurgical angiography had complete AVM obliteration. Radiosurgery is an effective and less invasive management strategy for Grade I or II AVM patients who are either medically unsuitable for or unwilling to undergo surgical removal. The risk of AVM hemorrhage during the latency interval until obliteration occurs appears to be no different than the natural history of untreated AVMs. These results (including hemorrhage prevention and symptom amelioration) indicate that the conservative management of small AVMs can rarely be justified.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / rehabilitation
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiosurgery* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome