At IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, we employ an award-winning and experienced team of neurosurgeons and specialists at several locations in New Jersey and New York. They provide cutting-edge care to patients throughout the tri-state area, including diagnosis and treatment for intracranial (brain) and spinal (spine) arteriovenous fistulas. Learn more about how we help our patients achieve relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Understanding Arteriovenous Fistulas
All of the body’s systems require water, oxygen, and nutrients to function effectively. These essentials are supplied by blood cells, which travel from the arteries into a network of very tiny vessels called capillaries. These allow the blood to release its nutrients into surrounding tissues and organs. Then the blood can move into the veins and back to the heart.
Occasionally, arteries and veins become twisted and fused together, resulting in a knot known an arteriovenous fistula. These tangles force blood to bypass the capillaries without transferring oxygen or nutrients to the surrounding tissue. Capillary walls also tend to be weak and brittle in these cases, making them prone to leaking or more severe damage.
Signs and Symptoms
A correct diagnosis is essential to treating an arteriovenous fistula. While fistulas do not always display obvious symptoms, many patients do experience signs, including:
- Localized swelling
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Decreased blood pressure
- Reddish discoloration or purplish veins under the skin
If arteriovenous fistulas are left untreated, they may grow and spread. Large fistulas often cause blood clots or drops in blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart failure or stroke. They may also burst and hemorrhage. Urgent medical attention is necessary to avoid these troubles and ensure your health in the long term.
After diagnosing your condition, IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics will put you through a series of physical and imaging tests so our neurovascular specialists can determine the severity and location of the abnormality. We will also evaluate your overall health. With this information, we’ll work with you and your family to develop an effective treatment plan with one of the three following methods:
- Laser ablation: Our surgeon inserts a thin fiber-optic laser into the affected area to burn and seal the blood vessels closed. Your blood will redirect itself through healthy vessels.
- Endovascular embolization: This procedure uses a catheter to inject embolization substances into the fistula. These substances encourage vessels to clot and close themselves off.
- Microsurgical resection: For arteriovenous fistulas located near the brain or spinal cord, surgeons use imaging technology to separate the abnormal vessels from the nervous tissue.
Seek Specialist Care at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics
Our surgeons and physicians are specialists in brain, spine, neurological, neuropsychological, and orthopedic conditions. We offer a full continuum of care, from conservative treatments to cutting-edge procedures, to help patients return to high levels of health. To learn more about our treatments for intracranial and spinal arteriovenous fistulas, contact IGEA Brain, Spine, & Orthopedics today in New Jersey and New York.