Spinal Vascular Disorders

What are spinal vascular disorders?

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Spinal vascular malformations are abnormalities of blood vessels (arteries and veins) in or adjacent to the spinal cord. These malformations may consist of abnormal connections between arteries and veins (arteriovenous fistulas) or collections of abnormal vessels (arteriovenous malformations). The lesions may cause reversible or permanent dysfunction, affecting strength and/or sensation. They also can spontaneously cause immediate life-threatening symptoms related to bleeding or may cause slow deterioration over long periods of time.

Why rely on Washington University experts for the treatment of spinal vascular disorders?

Washington University neurosurgeons provide comprehensive treatment for all vascular disorders of the spine and spinal cord. They work together with neurointerventional radiologists to provide both open surgical treatment and endovascular embolization.

Spinal vascular disorder treatments

Vascular disorders of the spinal cord are often quite difficult to diagnose with conventional MRI, and typically require angiography (specialized imaging of the blood vessels). While rare, spinal neurosurgeons have extensive experience in treating this condition. A multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, and neuroradiologists at Washington University works together to diagnose and manage these disorders. 

Our experts have multiple options available for treatment depending on your individual vascular lesion location and lesion type. Treatment may involve surgery, endovascular embolization, radiation therapy or a combination treatments. The type of treatment you have depends largely on the location and size of the arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

Conditions Treated

  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Arteriovenous fistula (AVF)
  • Cavernous angiomas
  • Spinal aneurysms