AVM: Preparing for Surgery

As you prepare for AVM 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 will have a medical exam. This ensures that you are healthy enough for the procedure.

  • If you take any daily medicines, ask if you should take them the day of surgery.

  • At least 8 hours before surgery, or as directed, stop eating and drinking.

Man sitting on exam table talking to healthcare provider.

The day of your surgery

Be sure to 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 will be given general anesthesia to help you “sleep” through the surgery. At some point, an IV (intravenous) line will be placed in your arm. This can supply medicine and fluids as needed. In some cases, part of your head will be shaved. This is done to decrease the risk of infection.

Risks of surgery

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

  • Seizure

  • Infection

  • Loss of memory; confusion

  • Swelling or bleeding in the brain

  • Blood clots

  • Loss of sensation, including vision

  • Weakness or paralysis

  • Inability to speak

  • Death


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