Surgical management of deep-seated dural arteriovenous malformations

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; and the Mayfield Clinic, Cincinnati, Ohio
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✓ The best treatment for deep-seated dural arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains controversial. Therapeutic options include transarterial and transvenous embolization, surgical excision of the dural nidus, ligation of draining veins, and stereotactically guided radiation treatment. The authors report on their experience with the application and technique of skull base surgical approaches for deep-seated dural AVMs. Their series includes six patients who were surgically treated for five tentorial dural AVMs and one inferior petrosal sinus dural AVM between 1991 and 1995. Three patients presented with progressive brainstem dysfunction, one had progressive myelopathy, and two suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage. Venous hypertension caused progressive neurological deterioration in four patients and ruptured venous aneurysms caused hemorrhage in two patients. Four of the five tentorial dural AVMs received bilateral arterial supply from the internal carotid arteries and external carotid arteries (ECAs). The dural AVM of the inferior petrosal sinus was fed from both vertebral arteries and ECAs. In this series, all dural AVMs drained into deep cerebral veins. Intra- and postoperative angiographic studies were used to document complete obliteration in each case. After surgery, three patients developed transient, delayed (24–72 hours) neurological worsening. One month postsurgery, all six patients showed improvement from their preoperative neurological function. Surgical resection of these deep-seated dural AVMs was accomplished by eliminating the arterial supply rather than ligating the draining veins to avoid aggravating the underlying venous hypertension. This study demonstrates an important role for skull base surgical approaches in the management of patients with deep-seated dural AVMs that have hemorrhaged, are not obliterated by embolization, and for which stereotactically guided radiation therapy is an unsuitable option.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: John M. Tew, Jr., M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 231 Bethesda Avenue, P.O. Box 670515, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267–0515.
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