Brain AVM

A brain arteriovenous malformation, also known as AVM, occurs when abnormal blood vessels, connecting arteries and veins become tangled in the brain. A brain AVM causes a disruption to the vital process of the arteries taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and the veins taking the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart.

Although an arteriovenous malformation is rare, it can develop anywhere in your body. The most likely places it occurs is in the brain or spine.

It is not clear was causes AVMs, most people are born with them, but it is also possible for them to form later in lie. It is rare, but they can be passed down genetically.

If left untreated, an AVM can cause serious complications such as seizure, brain damage and/or stroke. Upon diagnosis, a brain AVM can typically be treated successfully to prevent such complications from occurring.


A brain arteriovenous malformation may not cause any signs or symptoms until it ruptures. This will result in a hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).

Other signs and symptoms of a brain AVM include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Pain or headache in one area of the head
  • Muscle weakness or numbness in a part of the body


Before treatment can begin, a neurologist will review your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. One or more tests may be need to make an accurate diagnosis your condition and where the AVM is located.

Tests used to diagnose brain AVMs include:

  • Cerebral Arteriography
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


Our team's primary goal for treating Brain AVM's is to prevent hemorrhages from occurring, while also control seizure or other neurological conditions. There are various treatment options for brain AVM.

Our team of experts will determine which treatment option suits your condition and individual needs, and other facts. Such as your age, health, and the size and location of the abnormal blood vessels.

Treatment options our team will use may include the following:

  • Medications to help treat symptoms caused by the AVM, such as headaches or seizures.
  • Surgery is the most common treatment for brain AVMs. There are three different surgical options for treatment:
    • Surgical removal: If the brain AVM has bled or is in an area that can easily be reached, surgical removal of the AVM through conventional brain surgery is recommended.
    • Endovascular embolization: A less invasive alternative procedure. It can be performed alone but can also be done prior to other surgical treatments to make the procedure safer by reducing the blood flow within the Brain AVM. Which will also help decrease the likelihood of bleeding during surgery. An endovascular embolization may also be used to reduce stroke-like symptoms by redirecting blood back to normal brain tissue.
    • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): This treatment uses precisely focused radiation to slowly close the AVM. An SRS directs many highly targeted radiation beams at the AVM to slowly damage the blood vessels within the AVM and cause scarring. The scarred AVM blood vessels then slowly clot off in one to three years following treatment.