Surgical Outcomes of Awake Craniotomy for Treatment of Arteriovenous Malformations in Eloquent Cortex: A Systematic Review

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World Neurosurgery


Objective: Arteriovenous malformations (AVM) located in eloquent brain regions are historically associated with a poor prognosis. Awake craniotomy (AC) with the adjunct of brain mapping has the potential of identifying non-eloquent gyri to maximize resection, thereby theoretically decreasing the risk of neurologic deficits. With limited evidence regarding the efficacy of AC in treatment of eloquent AVMs, this review aims to investigate its surgical outcomes.

Methods: A systematic search in the PubMed database was performed to identify all relevant studies up to February 2022.

Results: 13 studies were extracted for quantitative analysis, yielding a total of 46 patients. The mean age was 34.1 years, and most patients were female (54.8%). Seizures were the most frequently reported presenting symptom (41%, 19/46 cases). Spetzler-Martin Grade III was the most prevalent (45.9%, 17 cases) with a mean nidus size of 32.6 mm. Seventy-four percent of AVMs were located on the left-side, with the frontal lobe being the most common location (30%, 14/46 cases). The most common eloquent regions were language (47.8%, 22/46 cases), motor (17.4%, 8/46 cases), and language + motor cortices (13.1%, 6/46 cases). Complete resection of AVM was achieved in 41 patients (89%). Intraoperative complications occurred in 14/46 cases (30.4%) with transient postoperative neurologic deficits in 14 patients (30.4%).

Conclusion: AC may enable precise microsurgical excision of eloquent AVMs with preservation of critical brain functions. Risk factors for poor outcomes include eloquent AVMs located in the language + motor regions and the occurrence of intraoperative complications such as seizures/hemorrhage.



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arteriovenous malformation, awake craniotomy, eloquent cortex