AVM – Types & Stages

AVM – Types & Stages

CyberKnife Treatment in Orange County, CA

At Orange County CyberKnife, we’re proud to use revolutionary cancer treatments like CyberKnife to fight a wide variety of cancerous conditions – but in addition to cancerous tumors, we can also use CyberKnife to treat certain noncancerous conditions as well. We utilize the same state-of-the-art technology and world-class treatment professionals to give our patients the best outlook possible whether we’re treating brain cancer or a non-cancerous condition like arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

The Different Types of Brain AVMs

The term AVM is usually used to refer to any blood vessel malformation involving the brain or its surrounding structures, but it’s actually a blanket term. From a medical perspective, there are many different types of AVM, each affecting a different part of the brain and coming with its own unique set of symptoms and treatment options.

Types of AVMs include:

  • True Arteriovenous Malformation: The most common brain vascular malformation, this forms from a tangle of abnormal blood vessels that connect arteries and veins without normal brain tissue between them.
  • Occult or Cryptic AVM (Cavernous Malformations): This refers to an AVM in the brain that doesn’t divert large amounts of blood. However, these malformations may bleed or produce seizures.
  • Venous Malformation: This refers to an abnormality affecting only veins. Often, the veins may be enlarged or appear in abnormal locations within the brain.
  • Hemangioma: Usually occurring on the surface of the brain or on the skin or facial structures, these form as large pockets of blood within normal tissue in the body.
  • Dural Fistula: Dural fistulas occur within the “dura mater,” the hard outer covering of the brain that lies beneath the skull. Dural fistulas involve only abnormal connections between blood vessels in the dura mater, but they may take any one of three forms:
    • Dural Carotid Cavernous Sinus Fistula: This form occurs behind the eye, often causing symptoms from diverting blood away from the eye. Patients commonly experience swelling of the eyes, vision loss, redness, or congestion, and they may sometimes hear a “swishing” noise.
    • Transverse Sigmoid Sinus Dural Fistula: This type occurs behind the ear, often causing patients to hear a continuous noise (bruit) that occurs with each heartbeat. In addition, patients may experience a sensation of pain behind the ear, headaches, or neck pain.
    • Sagittal Sinus & Scalp Dural Fistula: These occur near the top of the head and can cause a number of symptoms. Patients may hear noise (bruit), have headaches, or pain near the top of the head, and they may also display overly prominent blood vessels on the scalp and above the ear.

Are There Different Stages of AVM?

Unlike most forms of cancer, AVMs are not categorized by stage because AVM is not a progressive condition. AVM is a congenital condition, occurring at birth and continuing throughout life unless treated. Often, someone with an AVM may display no symptoms and go through their entire life without treatment and completely unaware of their condition. In other cases, however, AVMs can grow or create pressure on the brain, leading to headaches, dizziness, or confusion – and if an AVM bursts, it can cause serious issues within the brain.

Contact Your Orange County Cancer Center

AVMs may be benign or carry a high risk of causing problems in the brain – and if you’re suffering from a serious AVM, OC CyberKnife is here to help. We can use CyberKnife and a variety of other treatments to close and heal an AVM, returning normal vascular function and preventing the threat of a bleed or other serious event. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you treat your AVM, and if you’re interested in starting treatment, schedule a consultation with us. We look forward to hearing from you.