BACKGROUND: Eloquent intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) located in the primary motor or somatosensory cortex (PMSC) carry a high risk of microsurgical morbidity.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the outcomes of radiosurgery on PMSC AVMs and compare them with radiosurgery outcomes in a matched cohort of noneloquent lobar AVMs.
METHODS: Between 1989 and 2009, 134 patients with PMSC AVMs underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery with a median radiographic and clinical follow-up of 64 and 80 months, respectively. Seizure (40.3%) and hemorrhage (28.4%) were the most common presenting symptoms. Pre-radiosurgery embolization was performed in 33.6% of AVMs. Median AVM volume was 4.1 mL (range, 0.1-22.6 mL), and prescription dose was 20 Gy (range, 7-30 Gy). Cox regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with obliteration.
RESULTS: The overall obliteration rate, including magnetic resonance imaging and angiography, after radiosurgery was 63%. Obliteration was achieved in 80% of AVMs with a volume less than 3 mL compared with 55% for AVMs larger than 3 mL. No previous embolization (P = .002) and a single draining vein (P = .001) were independent predictors of obliteration on multivariate analysis. The annual post-radiosurgery hemorrhage risk was 2.5%. Radiosurgery-related morbidity was temporary and permanent in 14% and 6% of patients, respectively. Comparing PMSC AVMs with matched noneloquent lobar AVMs, the obliteration rates and clinical outcomes after radiosurgery were not statistically different.
CONCLUSION: For patients harboring PMSC AVMs, radiosurgery offers a reasonable chance of obliteration with a relatively low complication rate. Eloquent location does not appear to confer the same negative prognostic value for radiosurgery that it does for microsurgery.
ABBREVIATIONS: AVM, arteriovenous malformation
DSA, digital subtraction angiography
PMSC, primary motor or somatosensory cortex
RIC, radiation-induced change