Summer 2005 Issue

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates Is Among The First In The Country To Offer New Treatment for AVMs

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates will be one of the first in the country, and one of only three sites in North Carolina, to offer Onyx® Liquid Embolic System, a new FDA-approved treatment for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Onyx is a sealant that blocks these abnormal connections between veins and arteries in the brain using minimally invasive endovascular techniques.

The tip of the catheter is placed at the AVM site, where Onyx can then be delivered.
Because of high blood flow and pressure imbalances, AVMs in the brain are at risk of hemorrhage or rupture, which can lead to stroke, severe disability and even death. Onyx is a liquid polymer that fills the AVM to seal it off and reduce the risk of bleeding or rupture. The minimally invasive procedure utilizes a catheter to deliver the embolic liquid to the tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins.

“Onyx is a giant leap forward over previous embolization substances,” said Joe Bernard, M.D. “It can be used for patients who don’t have the option of surgery, or can be used to reduce the size and vascularity of an AVM, making it safer and easier to perform surgery."

AVMs are believed to be congenital and are formed prior to birth. Approximately 80 percent of the estimated 300,000 Americans with AVMs will experience few, if any, symptoms. The severity of symptoms can vary greatly in those who do experience them. In addition to seizures and headaches, AVMs can also cause a wide range of neurological problems depending on their location in the body, such as muscle weakness, abnormal sensations (numbness, tingling, or spontaneous pain), visual disturbances, loss of coordination, dizziness, memory deficits, and mental confusion.

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