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Coexisting filum terminale arteriovenous fistula and filum terminale lipoma treated with single-stage surgery: illustrative case

Hiroki Yamazaki, Tomohiko Ozaki, Tomoki Kidani, Yosuke Fujimi, Masahiro Nonaka, Masao Umegaki, Chisato Yokota, and Toshiyuki Fujinaka


Both filum terminale arteriovenous fistulas (FTAVFs) and filum terminale lipomas (FTLs) are rare. Because of this rarity, there is a paucity of data regarding concomitant FTAVF and FTL, and the optimal treatment remains to be defined. The authors describe a patient with coexisting FTAVF and FTL treated with single-stage surgery.


A man in his 70s was referred to the authors’ department because of a suspected spinal vascular malformation seen on magnetic resonance imaging that was performed to investigate lower limb weakness, intermittent claudication, and urinary incontinence. Previous imaging had shown a terminal lipoma with an internal flow void. Computed tomography angiography and digital subtraction angiography revealed an FTAVF, the feeder being a lateral sacral artery. The patient was treated surgically with curative intent. The FTL and tethered cord that had been identified by imaging were treated in the same procedure. Postoperative digital subtraction angiography showed absence of the abnormal vessels. The patient was discharged home on the 19th postoperative day.


When considering treatment, it is important to determine whether symptoms are attributable mainly to FTL, tethered cord, or FTAVF. One-stage treatment is useful because it eliminates both the FTAVF and the factors that led to its development.