Radiosurgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations: Assessment of early phase magnetic resonance imaging and significance of gadolinium-DTPA enhancement

Minoru Morikawa, Yuji Numaguchi, Daniele Rigamonti, Toshiro Kuroiwa, Michael I. Rothman, Gregg H. Zoarski, J. Mark Simard, Howard Eisenberg, Pradip P. Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the initial changes within the nidus of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and to assess the reaction of the brain tissue surrounding AVMs after radiosurgery by serial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Methods and Materials: Twenty-one patients, treated using 60Co gamma knife unit with cerebral AVMs, were retrospectively evaluated. Forty- seven follow-up MR images of the 21 patients were performed including 10 patients with two or more serial gadolinium enhanced studies (Gd-MR). Two or more sequential MR angiographics (MRA) were obtained in 13 patients. Three- dimensional (3D) time-of-flight MRA and two-dimensional (2D) phase contrast MRA were used in 13 patients for evaluating the flow changes of AVMs. The follow-up period after radiosurgery ranged from 3 to 30 months (average 10.8 months) and the interval time of MRI ranged from 34 days to 13 months (average 4.9 months). Results: Reduction of nidus size was observed in 14 of the 21 patients (67%) between 4 to 13 months on spin echo (SE) images. Complete obliteration was observed on SE images in 4 of these 14 patients; three were confirmed by conventional angiography. New hyperintense areas surrounding the nidus on T2-weighted images (T2WI) developed in 9 of the 14 patients who showed nidus reduction between 5 to 17 months after radiosurgery; in three patients, size of the hyperintense area started to decrease between 6 to 7 months after its appearance. Probable radiation necrosis of pons developed in one patient 26 months after radiosurgery. The irradiated area within the AVM nidus was significantly enhanced in 8 of the 10 patients who underwent Gd-MR. The degrees of enhancement within the nidus increased with time in 7 of the 10 patients. Overall, total enhancement of irradiated areas was observed in four of the 10 patients; in three of the four, the enhancement decreased in size and degree, indicating nidus reduction. In three patients who had a partial volume irradiation within the nidus, the enhancing areas corresponded with the exact portions of irradiated volume. The nidus reduction was observed in 7 of the 13 patients on MRA during 5 to 13 months after radiosurgery. MRA was more useful compared to SE images in four of the seven patients in evaluating the size change of AVM nidus, feeding arteries, and draining veins. Conclusion: Magnetic resonance imaging and MRA were useful in assessing the progress of nidus reduction. T2-weighted imaging was sensitive to radiation-induced reaction in and around the AVM nidus. The enhancement within the AVM nidus on Gd-MR may represent the initial sign of nidus reduction and demonstrates the exact location of irradiation in the nidus. The changes of the enhancement pattern are presumed to represent the processes of nidus reduction and irradiated reaction within the AVM nidus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-675
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1996


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Gamma knife
  • MR angiography
  • MR imaging
  • Radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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