Parafalcine and midline arteriovenous malformations: surgical strategy, techniques, and outcomes

Clinical article

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  • 1 Departments of Neurological Surgery,
  • 2 Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, and
  • 3 Neurology, and
  • 4 Center for Cerebrovascular Research, University of California, San Francisco, California
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Object

Parafalcine arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have a midline plane in common, but differ in their location (anterior, middle, or posterior) and depth (superficial or deep). Surgical management varies with AVM location and depth in terms of patient position, head position, craniotomy, and surgical approach. This study examined surgical strategies, patient outcomes, and regional factors influencing results.

Methods

Patients with AVMs located on the medial surface of the cerebral hemisphere were identified retrospectively from a consecutive, single-neurosurgeon series that is registered prospectively as part of the UCSF Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Study Project. During a 12-year period, 443 patients with AVMs were treated surgically. Of these 443 patients, 132 (30%) had parafalcine AVMs, which were distributed in zones as follows: superficial-anterior, 25 (18.9%); superficial-middle, 26 (19.7%); superficial-posterior, 39 (29.5%); deep-anterior, 25 (18.9%); deep-posterior, 17 (12.9%). Five different surgical strategies were used depending on AVM zone.

Results

Complete AVM resection was achieved in 123 (93.2%) of 132 patients. Overall, neurological condition improved in 74 patients (56.1%) and remained unchanged in 41 patients (31.1%). Neurological condition deteriorated in 12 patients (9.1%), and 5 patients (3.8%) died. Patients with AVMs in the superficial-middle zone had the highest rate of neurological deterioration (26.9%).

Conclusions

Parafalcine AVMs lie on a midline surface that, when exposed with a bilateral craniotomy across the superior sagittal sinus and a wide opening of the interhemispheric fissure, makes them superficial. However, unlike convexity AVMs, which are approached perpendicularly, parafalcine AVMs are approached tangentially. Gravity retraction is useful with deeply located AVMs (those in the deep-anterior and deep-posterior zones), because it widens the interhemispheric fissure and accesses deep arterial feeding vessels from the anterior and posterior cerebral arteries. Surgical risks were increased in the superficial-middle zone, which is likely explained by the proximity of sensorimotor cortex. The authors' regional classification of parafalcine AVMs may serve as a guide to surgical planning.

Abbreviations used in this paper: ACA = anterior cerebral artery; AVM = arteriovenous malformation; ICA = internal carotid artery; MCA = middle cerebral artery; PCA = posterior cerebral artery; SSS = superior sagittal sinus; VA = vertebral artery.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Michael T. Lawton, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, 505 Parnassus Avenue, M780, Box 0112, San Francisco, California 94143-0112. email: lawtonm@neurosurg.ucsf.edu.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online January 21, 2011; DOI: 10.3171/2010.12.JNS101297.

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