A brain (intracranial) arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in your brain. These are congenital lesions, meaning that they can develop before you're born. Arteriovenous malformations can also occur in your spinal cord (spinal arteriovenous malformation).

Oxygen-rich blood normally enters your brain through arteries, which branch into smaller arterioles and even smaller blood vessels (capillaries). Your brain uses oxygen removed from the blood in your capillaries. Oxygen-depleted blood then passes into small venules and then into larger veins that drain the blood from your brain to your heart and lungs.

In a brain arteriovenous malformation, your blood passes directly from your arteries to your veins, bypassing capillaries. The arteries and veins in an AVM can rupture, causing bleeding into the brain.

Read more about brain arteriovenous malformation.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive expertise and experience in treating arteriovenous malformations and other brain and nervous system conditions (neurological conditions).
  • Team approach. At Mayo Clinic, doctors trained in brain conditions (neurologists), brain surgeons (neurosurgeons), brain imaging specialists (neuroradiologists) and other specialists work together as an integrated, coordinated team to diagnose AVMs and develop the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
  • Individualized treatment. Doctors will discuss with you all your treatment options and develop an individualized treatment plan based on your risk of complications, the location and size of the AVM, and your overall health.
  • Efficient system. In Mayo Clinic's efficient system, your testing and treatment can be done in days, not weeks. The team performs many surgeries to treat all types of arteriovenous malformations, from the simplest to the most complex condition.
  • Treatment expertise. Mayo Clinic doctors have experience treating AVMs with surgical removal, stereotactic radiosurgery and endovascular embolization. Doctors may also use awake brain surgery during surgical removal.
  • Research. Doctors study new and improved diagnostic techniques and treatment options for arteriovenous malformations.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked high performing for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in neurology, neurosurgery and neuroradiology care for adults with arteriovenous malformations at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology, neurosurgery and neuroradiology care for adults with arteriovenous malformations at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology, neurosurgery and neuroradiology care for adults and children with arteriovenous malformations at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Pediatric specialists in neurology and neurosurgery care for children with arteriovenous malformations at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in brain conditions (neurologists) and other researchers actively study clinical and laboratory research related to arteriovenous malformations and other brain conditions. Researchers have published an extensive amount of publications related to arteriovenous malformations. Learn more about research in neurology and neurosurgery.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Read more about managing arteriovenous malformations.

Jul. 21, 2010