Treatment

Treatment for spinal AVM may involve a combination of approaches to lessen symptoms as well as reduce the risk of potential complications. The choice of treatment will depend on the size, location and blood flow of your spinal AVM, your neurological exam, and your overall health.

The goal of spinal AVM treatment is to reduce the risk of hemorrhage and stop or prevent the progression of disability and other symptoms.

Medication

Pain-relieving medications may be used to reduce symptoms such as back pain and stiffness, but most spinal AVMs will eventually require surgery.

Endovascular embolization

Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to reduce the risk of hemorrhage and other complications associated with spinal AVMs.

In endovascular embolization, a catheter is inserted into an artery in your leg and threaded to an artery in your spinal cord that is feeding your AVM. Small particles of a glue-like substance are injected to block the artery and reduce blood flow into the AVM.

Endovascular embolization is often used in combination with spinal AVM surgery. Your doctor may recommend endovascular embolization before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding during surgery or to reduce the size of the AVM so that surgery is more successful.

Surgery

Surgery is usually needed to remove a spinal AVM from the surrounding tissue.

Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of surgery to remove your AVM. The close proximity of the AVM to the spinal cord means spinal AVM surgery is a technically difficult and complex procedure that should be performed by an experienced neurosurgeon.

Spinal AVM surgery is usually performed in combination with endovascular embolization.