Stereotactic radiosurgery for motor cortex region arteriovenous malformations

Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis, Elad I. Levy, Ajay Niranjan, Andrew D. Firlik, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, L. Dade Lunsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The optimal management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in critical brain locations remains controversial. To reduce the risk of an AVM hemorrhage and to enhance the possibility of preserving neurological function, stereotactic radiosurgery was performed in 33 patients with newly diagnosed or residual AVMs located within the motor cortex. The role of embolization also was examined. METHODS: During a 9-year study period, 33 patients with AVMs located primarily in the motor cortex region were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery. These patients were followed up radiographically for a minimum of 36 months, or less if obliteration was documented before 36 months had elapsed. Of the 33 patients, 9 underwent embolization and 1 underwent microsurgery before radiosurgery. Nine patients required a second radiosurgery. The mean AVM target volume was 4.35 cc, and the average radiation dose to the AVM margin was 20 Gy. The median follow-up was 36 months (range, 10-91 mo), and angiographic follow-up of eligible patients was performed 24 or 36 months after radiosurgery. RESULTS: Results were stratified by radiosurgical target volumes: Jess than 3 cc (Group 1), 3 to 10 cc (Group 2), and greater than 10 cc (Group 3). Overall (including second radiosurgery), 13 (87%) of 15 patients in Group 1 had complete obliteration confirmed by angiography. Nine (64%) of 14 patients in Group 2 exhibited nidus obliteration, and one (25%) of four patients in Group 3 demonstrated obliteration on a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Eight patients (24%) underwent second-stage radiosurgery after angiography revealed a persistent AVM nidus; three patients demonstrated complete obliteration on follow-up angiography. The obliteration rate was higher (87%) for AVMs with less than 3 cc target volume and lower (56%) for those with target volumes larger than 3 cc. One patient experienced worsening neurological function after radiosurgery, and one died from delayed AVM hemorrhage during the latency period. No patient bled after angiographically confirmed AVM obliteration. CONCLUSION: Stereotactic radiosurgery is a successful and safe management option for patients with motor cortex AVMs. The obliteration of AVMs and the attendant low morbidity rates indicate a primary role for radiosurgery in these patients. Staged radiosurgery may be necessary to increase obliteration rates for larger AVMs or for those that are not obliterated after the first procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Embolization
  • Microsurgery
  • Motor cortex
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery


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