Arteriovenous Malformations
Treatment

Our experts — among the best in the world — will work with you and your family to develop the best possible treatment plan for your child. This team includes a neurologist, neurosurgeon, neurointerventional radiologist and radiation oncologist.

Because arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are one of the leading causes of debilitating hemorrhagic strokes in young people, the goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of stroke. Today, there are many safe and highly effective therapies. These include surgery, radiation therapy, embolization and radiosurgery using a machine called a Gamma Knife.

  • Surgery — In many cases, surgery may be recommended to completely remove your child’s AVM. In addition to conventional brain surgery, advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques are available.
  • Gamma Knife — The Gamma Knife is an advanced radiosurgery treatment for abnormal blood vessel formations, is often recommended for children with complex, deep seated or brain stem AVMs. Despite its name, it isn't a knife at all. It delivers a single, very finely focused, high dose of radiation precisely to its target, while causing little or no damage to surrounding tissue. The Gamma Knife may be used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, or by itself as the primary therapy.
  • Embolization — This technique is used to reduce blood flow to the AVM by obstructing surrounding blood vessels. During this procedure, the AVM is filled with specially designed coils, glues or spheres, which plug its vessels. As a result, blood flow is decreased, making the AVM more manageable for future procedures such as surgery.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Intensive Care Nursery
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202

Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery (NICN)
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202

Stroke & Cerebrovascular Disease Center
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7596
Fax: (415) 353-2400
Appointment information

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