Safety and Efficacy of Surgical Resection of Unruptured Low-grade Arteriovenous Malformations From the Modern Decade

Karam Moon, Michael R. Levitt, Rami O. Almefty, Peter Nakaji, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Joseph M. Zabramski, John E. Wanebo, Cameron G. McDougall, Robert F. Spetzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Recent studies have questioned the utility of surgical resection of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs). Objective: We performed an assessment of outcomes and complications of surgical resection of low-grade bAVMs (Spetzler-Martin grade I or II) at a single high-volume neurosurgical center. Methods: We reviewed all unruptured low-grade bAVMs treated with surgery (with or without preoperative embolization) between January 2004 and January 2014. Stroke rate, mortality, and clinical and radiographic outcomes were examined. Results: Of 95 patients treated surgically, 85 (25 grade I, 60 grade II) met inclusion criteria, and all achieved radiographic cure postoperatively. Ten patients (11.8%) were lost to follow-up; the mean follow-up of the remaining 85 was 3.3 years. Three patients (3.5%) with grade II bAVMs experienced a stroke; no patients died. Although 20 patients (23.5%) had temporary postoperative neurological deficit, only 3 (3.5%) had new clinical impairment (modified Rankin Scale score ≥2) at last follow-up. Eight of the 13 patients (61.5%) with preexisting clinical impairment had improved modified Rankin Scale scores of 0 or 1; and 17 of 30 patients (56.7%) with preoperative seizures were seizure-free without antiepileptic medication postoperatively. No significant differences existed in stroke rate or clinical outcome between grades I and II patients at follow-up (Fisher exact test, P .55 and P >.99, respectively). Conclusion: Surgical resection of low-grade unruptured bAVMs is safe, with a high rate of improvement in functional status and seizure reduction. Although transient postoperative neurological deficit was observed in some patients, permanent treatment-related neurological morbidity was rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-952
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Embolization
  • Surgical resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Safety and Efficacy of Surgical Resection of Unruptured Low-grade Arteriovenous Malformations From the Modern Decade'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this