Radiosurgery has proven useful in the treatment of small arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain. However, the volume of healthy tissue irradiated around large lesions is rather significant, necessitating reduced radiation doses to avoid complications. As a consequence, this can produce poorer obliteration rates. Several strategies have been developed in the past decade to circumvent dose-volume problems with large AVMs, including repeated treatments as well as dose, and volume fractionation schemes. Although success on par with that achieved in lesions smaller than 3 ml remains elusive, improvements over the obliteration rate, the complication rate or both have been reported after conventional single-dose stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Radiosurgery with a marginal dose or peripheral dose < 15 Gy rarely obliterates AVMs, yet most lesions diminish in size posttreatment. Higher doses may then be reapplied to any residual nidi after an appropriate follow-up period. Volume fractionation divides AVMs into smaller segments to be treated on separate occasions. Doses > 15 Gy irradiate target volumes of only 5-15 ml, thereby minimizing the radiation delivered to the surrounding brain tissue. Fewer adverse radiological effects with the use of fractionated radiosurgery over standard radiosurgery have been reported. Advances in AVM localization, dose delivery, and dosimetry have revived interest in hypofractionated SRS. Investigators dispensing >or= 7 Gy per fraction minimum doses have achieved occlusion with an acceptable number of complications in 53-70% of patients. The extended latency period between treatment and occlusion, about 5 years for emerging techniques (such as salvage, staged volume, and hypofractionated radiotherapy), exposes the patient to the risk of hemorrhage during that period. Nevertheless, improvements in dose planning and target delineation will continue to improve the prognosis in patients harboring inoperable AVMs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology