Magnetic resonance imaging of obliterated arteriovenous malformations up to 23 years after radiosurgery

J Neurosurg. 1997 Apr;86(4):589-93. doi: 10.3171/jns.1997.86.4.0589.


The authors report outcomes in 18 patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) who were treated with gamma knife radiosurgery and in whom magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was obtained a mean of 14 years (range 8-23 years) after treatment and 10 years (range 4-17 years) after confirmed obliteration of the AVM. All patients were asymptomatic after radiosurgery and during the time of the study. In five patients (28%), cyst formation was observed that corresponded to the site of the obliterated AVM. Cyst formation and contrast enhancement on MR imaging could not be statistically correlated to the radiation dose. In 11 (61%) of the 18 patients, contrast enhancement that was not related to a recanalization of the nidus was observed in the target area. In three patients (17%), an increased T2-weighted signal was detected at the site of previous AVM; this was interpreted as gliosis or demyelination, which appeared to be dose dependent. The study illustrates that cyst formation, contrast enhancement, and an increased T2-weighted signal can be observed in asymptomatic patients in the area that was targeted for AVM radiosurgery up to 23 years after the procedure. The report provides new and essential information about long-term effects on normal tissue after radiosurgery and provides a basis for the interpretation of MR studies in the follow up of small AVMs treated by radiosurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis*
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Time Factors