Large arteriovenous malformations of the face: aesthetic results with recurrence control

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1999 Feb;103(2):351-61. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199902000-00001.


Large facial arteriovenous malformations are problematic for patients because of grotesque disfigurement, risk of rapid enlargement, and life-threatening rupture. Successful treatment of these relentless complex lesions is one of the most difficult challenges facing plastic surgeons. From a series of 300 large facial arteriovenous malformations, 85 patients were treated with embolization and excision; six of these cases (representing six separate anatomic regions: labial, auricular, eyelid, cheek, chin, and occipitoparietal) were selected for review. The purpose of this article was to look critically at the management of these six facial arteriovenous malformations, including patient presentation, angiographic procedures, surgical planning and technique, and postoperative long-term follow-up care. Lessons learned from the six representative cases provide clues for the management of large facial arteriovenous malformations and demonstrate the possibilities of recurrence and their occasionally relentless behavior. The cases show that long-term control of these lesions with acceptable aesthetic results can be achieved. The mainstay of treatment includes the following: (1) selective intra-arterial embolization with fine catheters and direct lesional embolization; (2) judicious resection and reconstruction with local or expanded tissue flaps; and (3) careful follow-up with serial examinations, duplex, and arteriography.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Face* / blood supply
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Tissue Expansion