AVM: Preparing for Surgery

As you prepare for AVM (arteriovenous malformation) surgery, you may be told to do some of the following:

  • You may be asked to donate blood for your surgery.

  • You may also be told to stop taking aspirin and other medicines that thin the blood. If you smoke, you should stop now.

  • Shortly before the day of your surgery, you'll have a medical exam. This makes sure that you're healthy enough for the procedure.

  • Follow any directions you're given for not eating or drinking before surgery.

Healthcare provider talking to man in exam room.

The day of your surgery

Arrive at the hospital on time. You may feel a bit nervous. Your healthcare team will try to answer all your questions and put you at ease. Just before surgery, you'll be given general anesthesia to help you not feel pain during the surgery. At some point, an IV (intravenous) line will be placed in your arm. This can be used to supply medicine and fluids as needed. In some cases, part of your head will be shaved. This is done to decrease the risk for infection.

Risks of surgery

As with any surgery, surgery to treat AVM has certain risks. These include:

  • Seizure

  • Stroke

  • Infection

  • Confusion or loss of memory

  • Swelling or bleeding in the brain

  • Blood clots

  • Loss of sensation, including vision

  • Weakness or paralysis

  • Inability to speak

  • Death

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