Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Specialist

CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine -  - Neurosurgery

CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine

Neurosurgery located in Greenwood Village, CO & Englewood, CO

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) can form anywhere in your body, but they most often develop in your brain. Without treatment, these abnormal blood vessels can enlarge and put you at risk of a brain hemorrhage. The team at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine specializes in diagnosing and treating AVMs, providing customized care that produces optimal outcomes. If you develop symptoms such as a headache or dizziness, call one of the offices in Colorado, including Lone Tree, Englewood, Castle Rock, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Colorado Springs, Parker, Yuma, and Lamar.

Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Q & A

What is an arteriovenous malformation?

An AVM occurs when arteries and veins develop abnormal connections. Normally, arteries and veins connect through capillaries that organize blood flow between the vessels.

Malformations develop when arteries and veins connect directly to one another without going through capillaries. As a result, the blood vessels become tangled and enlarged, causing an AVM.

AVMs are especially dangerous when they develop in your brain. In addition to affecting blood flow to your brain, the tangled vessels continue to enlarge. Without treatment, they rupture, causing bleeding and brain damage.

What symptoms develop if I have an arteriovenous malformation?

About half of all people with an AVM only develop symptoms when the malformed blood vessels start to bleed. Some people learn they have an AVM when they undergo diagnostic imaging for another health concern.

An estimated 12% of people experience symptoms either before the AVM is discovered or before it turns into a hemorrhage. Their symptoms include:

  • New seizures
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Memory problems
  • Mental confusion
  • Dementia
  • Hallucinations

You may also experience unusual sensations such as tingling, numbness, or sudden pain.

How is an arteriovenous malformation treated?

The team at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine diagnoses an AVM using an MRI or angiography. Then they develop a customized treatment plan based on the type of malformation, its location, and the severity of your symptoms.

Though some patients may only need routine observation to monitor AVM growth, other patients need immediate surgery. If your AVM caused seizures, your treatment might also include medications to control seizures.

Your provider at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine may recommend treatments such as:

Gamma Knife® radiosurgery

This treatment delivers numerous beams of radiation; all focused on the AVM.

Microvascular surgery

During this procedure, your provider performs a craniotomy and cuts out the AVM.

Endovascular embolization

After threading a catheter to the AVM, your provider injects a substance that shuts off the artery and reduces blood flow through the AVM. 

If you develop symptoms of an arteriovenous malformation, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call the office for an appointment.