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Adeel Ilyas, Ching-Jen Chen, Dale Ding, Panagiotis Mastorakos, Davis G. Taylor, I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Cheng-Chia Lee, and Jason Sheehan


Cyst formation can occasionally occur after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Given the limited data regarding post-SRS cyst formation in patients with AVM, the time course, natural history, and management of this delayed complication are poorly defined. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the incidence, time course, and optimal management of cyst formation after SRS for AVMs.


A literature review was performed using PubMed to identify studies reporting cyst formation in AVM patients treated with SRS. Baseline and outcomes data, including the incidence and management of post-SRS cysts, were extracted from each study that reported follow-up duration. The mean time to cyst formation was calculated from the subset of studies that reported individual patient data.


Based on pooled data from 22 studies comprising the incidence analysis, the overall rate of post-SRS cyst formation was 3.0% (78/2619 patients). Among the 26 post-SRS cyst patients with available AVM obliteration data, nidal obliteration was achieved in 20 (76.9%). Of the 64 cyst patients with available symptomatology and management data, 21 (32.8%) were symptomatic; 21 cysts (32.8%) were treated with surgical intervention, whereas the remaining 43 (67.2%) were managed conservatively. Based on a subset of 19 studies reporting individual time-to-cyst-formation data from 63 patients, the mean latency period to post-SRS cyst formation was 78 months (6.5 years).


Cyst formation is an uncommon complication after SRS for AVMs, with a relatively long latency period. The majority of post-SRS cysts are asymptomatic and can be managed conservatively, although enlarging or symptomatic cysts may require surgical intervention. Long-term follow-up of AVM patients is crucial to the appropriate diagnosis and management of post-SRS cysts.

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Jason Sheehan, Dale Ding, and Robert M. Starke

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Chun-Po Yen, Dale Ding, Ching-Hsiao Cheng, Robert M. Starke, Mark Shaffrey, and Jason Sheehan


A relatively benign natural course of unruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) has recently been recognized, and the decision to treat incidentally found AVMs has been questioned. This study aims to evaluate the long-term imaging and clinical outcomes of patients with asymptomatic, incidentally discovered AVMs treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).


Thirty-one patients, each with an incidentally diagnosed AVM, underwent GKS between 1989 and 2009. The nidus volumes ranged from 0.3 to 11.1 cm3 (median 3.2 cm3). A margin dose between 15 and 26 Gy (median 20 Gy) was used to treat the AVMs. Four patients underwent repeat GKS for still-patent AVM residuals after the initial GKS procedure. Clinical follow-up ranged from 24 to 196 months, with a mean of 78 months (median 51 months) after the initial GKS.


Following GKS, 19 patients (61.3%) had a total AVM obliteration on angiography. In 7 patients (22.6%), no flow voids were observed on MRI but angiographic confirmation was not available. In 5 patients (16.1%), the AVMs remained patent. A small nidus volume was significantly associated with increased AVM obliteration rate. Thirteen patients (41.9%) developed radiation-induced imaging changes: 11 were asymptomatic (35.5%), 1 had only headache (3.2%), and 1 developed seizure and neurological deficits (3.2%). Two patients each had 1 hemorrhage during the latency period (116.5 risk years), yielding an annual hemorrhage rate of 1.7% before AVM obliteration.


The decision to treat asymptomatic AVMs, and if so, which treatment approach to use, remain the subject of debate. GKS as a minimally invasive procedure appears to achieve a reasonable outcome with low procedure-related morbidity. In those patients with incidental AVMs, the benefits as well as the risks of radiosurgical intervention will only be fully defined with long-term follow-up.