Vascular Malformations of the Brain

WHAT ARE VASCULAR MALFOR-
MATIONS OF THE BRAIN
?

child after surgery for Vascular Malformations

Vascular malformations of the brain is a general term used to classify conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain. During the fetal development stage, abnormal blood clusters can form and can have serious repercussions if left untreated. Vascular malformations may cause seizures, headaches, bleeding in the brain, and strokes.

 

These conditions include:

  • Cavernomas or cavernous malformations of the brain are vascular abnormalities of the central nervous system. This condition is characterized by a cluster of dilated, abnormal vessels.
  • Cerebral aneurysms explain the ballooning, bulging, or dilation of part of the artery or wall of a vein in the brain.
  • Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM) are tangles of abnormal blood vessels that connect veins and arteries to the brain. These veins are tasked with carrying oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart and lungs. The arteries are responsible for transferring oxygen-infused blood to the brain and heart.

 

Vascular malformations will typically grow at a rate proportionate to the child’s development.

Symptoms

While vascular malformations are not cancerous tumors, they can sometimes grow and cause various symptoms. In many cases, a vascular malformation causes no symptoms and can go unnoticed. However, some cases will cause problems by pressing on areas in the brain, which can inflame the brain tissue, leak abnormal substances into the brain, and/or alter the blood flow from regions of the normal brain. In these cases, the vascular malformation can cause symptoms that include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Changes in the ability to think clearly
  • Changes in vision or speech
  • Changes in motor function
  • Numbness and tingling sensations

Treatment

Treatment options will vary based on the location and severity of the malformation. While advancements in medicine are continually introducing new solutions, the current treatment options include:

  • Resection or surgical removal of the vascular malformation of the brain.
  • Multiple embolization is a procedure where pellets are placed in the circulatory system to constrict blood flow from and to the abnormal blood vessels.
  • Irradiation or radiation treatment use hyper-focused lasers to minimize the vascular malformation.

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