Vein of Galen Malformation

At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, experts specializing in vein of Galen malformations (VOGMs) work with you and your child to develop the best possible treatment plan. The team includes a neurologist, neurosurgeon and neurointerventional radiologist.

In the past, surgical procedures were used to treat VOGMs, although these techniques were very difficult and often unsuccessful. Today, an alternative treatment called embolization provides significant improvements.


Embolization, in which the blood vessels are intentionally closed, is used as a treatment for many vascular malformations. It may be recommended for certain patients when treatment with surgery is difficult or risky, as is the case with VOGMs, or if the patient cannot have a major surgery because of a medical condition.

Embolization reduces blood flow to the VOGM by obstructing surrounding blood vessels. During this procedure, the VOGM is filled with specially designed coils, glues or spheres, which plug its vessels.

Sometimes several procedures are required, which are performed over a period of months, usually while the baby is under 2 years of age.

Although a VOGM can be a life-threatening disorder, a recent study performed at UCSF showed that the majority of children with this condition go on to lead normal lives after the condition is treated. Children who do not develop heart failure as result of the disease fair particularly well.

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

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