Feasibility of awake craniotomy for brain arteriovenous malformations: A scoping review

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Background: Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) located in proximity to eloquent brain regions are associated with poor surgical outcomes, which may be due to higher rates of postoperative neurological deterioration. Current treatment protocols include stereotactic radiosurgery, transarterial embolization, and surgical resection under general anesthesia. Awake Craniotomy (AC) allows intraoperative mapping of eloquent areas to improve post-operative neurologic outcomes.
Objectives: We reviewed the current literature reporting surgical outcomes and assessed the feasibility of AC for AVM resection.
Methods: The PRISMA guidelines were utilized as a template for the review. Three databases including PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Library were searched using a predefined search strategy. After removing duplicates and screening, full texts were analyzed. Outcomes including the extent of resection, intra-operative and post-operative complications, and long-term neurologic outcomes were assessed.
Results: 12 studies were included with a total of 122 AVM cases. Spetzler-Martin grading was used for the classification of the AVMs. The asleep-awake-asleep protocol was most commonly used for AC. Complete resection was achieved in all cases except 5. Intraoperative complications included seizures (n = 2) and bleeding (n = 4). Short-term post-operative complications included hemorrhage (n = 3), neurologic dysfunctions including paresis (n = 3), hemiplegia (n = 10), dysphasia/aphasia (n = 6), cranial nerve dysfunction (n = 3), and pulmonary embolism (n = 1). Almost all neurological deficits after surgery gradually improved on subsequent follow-ups.
Conclusion: AVMs may shift the anatomical location of eloquent brain areas which may be mapped during AC. All studies recommended AC for the resection of AVMs in close proximity to eloquent areas as mapping during AC identifies the eloquent cortex thus promoting careful tissue handling which may preserve neurologic function and/or predict the postoperative functional status of the patients We, therefore, conclude that AC is a viable modality for AVMs resection near eloquent language and motor areas.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

World Neurosurgery