Arteriovenous malformations are expressed through abnormal artery to vein connections. Although these vascular malformations are most commonly associated with the spinal cord and brain, arteriovenous malformations can occur anywhere in the body. The condition leads to blood bypassing tissue as it normally would, which may result in premature cell death and nerve damage. In some cases, increased blood flow will also cause arteriovenous malformations to become larger and pose even greater risks to health.
When arteriovenous malformations are present in the brain, there is a significant risk of bleeding from compromised blood vessels bursting. If you or your child are experiencing neurological problems including seizures, impaired motor skills or speech, headaches or unexplained bouts of weakness, it is important to pursue a diagnosis to rule out serious issues such as arteriovenous malformations.
Arteriovenous Malformations Treatment
Patients who have been diagnosed with or are at risk of having arteriovenous malformations require periodic monitoring at the very least. Where arteriovenous malformations are identified in the brain or spinal cord, removal is often complicated by proximity to nerve tissue. If you are diagnosed with arteriovenous malformations in various areas of the body, a combination of treatment options and care are commonly recommended.
At the Vascular Birthmark Center we can evaluate, diagnose and treat arteriovenous malformations in many cases. Dr. Greg Levitin will carry out the evaluation at our office and discuss the potential implications of removing arteriovenous malformations. One of the main concerns with surgery is the risk of damage to nerve tissue, especially when malformations are located around the face and neck.
Dr. Levitin uses a number of advanced tools, including an intraoperative nerve monitoring system, which under his expert hands can reduce the risk of facial nerve damage. Most centers will warn of up to a 50% chance of nerve damage occurring as a result of surgery. However, with the same procedure carried out by Dr. Greg Levitin of the Vascular Birthmark Center, it carries less than a 1% risk.
Working with Specialists
The treatment of arteriovenous malformations may require visiting a number of specialists, which can become especially stressful for children. As well as treating the condition itself, there are complications which can affect speech and learning. Your child may need help with learning difficulties, ADHD and visual impairment among other things. Coordinating care will make all the difference, and the Vascular Birthmark Center is here to assist you in any way that we can.
If you are finding it difficult to determine which resources and support are best for your child’s specific needs, feel free to discuss these issues with Dr. Greg Levitin during consultation or while your child is being evaluated. With the right care, arteriovenous malformations are manageable in most cases.