Over the last 20 years, several intraoperative adjuncts, including ultrasonography, neuronavigation, and angiography, have been said to aid the intraoperative localization and resection of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The authors assessed the value of intraoperative Doppler ultrasonography in conjunction with neuronavigation during surgery for cerebral AVMs in the pediatric population.
The authors reviewed all cranial AVM resections performed by a single surgeon at their institution in the period from 2007 to 2013 and here describe their experience and results in a series of 20 consecutive AVM resections in 19 pediatric patients. Intraoperative Doppler ultrasonography had been used in conjunction with preoperative CT or neuronavigational MRI. Preoperative and postoperative clinical findings, patient age, and Spetzler-Martin AVM grade were identified in all patients.
All patients, whose ages ranged from 2 to 16 years, underwent craniotomy and excision of an AVM, which was supratentorial in 18 cases and infratentorial in 2. Patients in 11 cases underwent preoperative embolization, and all other patients underwent cerebral angiography prior to surgery, except for 2 patients who were urgently surgically treated because of low Glasgow Coma Scale scores and associated hematoma. Spetzler-Martin Grades I (3 cases), II (6), III (7), and IV (4) AVMs were represented in this series. Intraoperative Doppler ultrasound provided high-quality images in all cases and demonstrated the location, size, and flow characteristics of the AVM and any associated hematoma. Delayed postoperative cerebral angiography demonstrated successful AVM resection in all cases. An assessment of clinical outcomes revealed no new long-term neurological deficits at 3 months postoperatively.
Intraoperative Doppler ultrasonography is a reliable and useful tool for intraoperative localization and guidance for AVM resection in the pediatric population. When used in conjunction with neuronavigation equipment and modern microscopes, this technique has shown a very high complete resection rate with extremely low associated morbidity.