Spinal Vascular Malformation

Spinal vascular malformation (SVM) is a rare condition in which blood vessels become tangled in or around the spinal cord. Symptoms of SVM may include back pain or weakness in the extremities.

Our board-certified specialists and professional staff are experienced and trained in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal vascular malformation. We are committed to your treatment and recovery, and will work with you to improve your condition and your quality of life.

What is Spinal Vascular Malformation?

Spinal vascular malformation (SVM) is an uncommon condition in which blood vessels of the spinal cord are tangled. Symptoms may include abnormal sensation in the body, back pain, weakness in the extremities, bladder or bowel problems, and sexual dysfunction. In extreme cases, it may lead to paralysis.

The symptoms can surface gradually, some types of SVM cause no symptoms, or the signs may come quickly and acutely. Some types of SVM are present at birth, and others may be detected later in life, in the patients 50s or 60s.

Diagnosing Spinal Vascular Malformation

Along with a review of a patient’s medical history and a physical examination, a physician may order imaging tests to arrive at a diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) are screening tests that are effective in detecting a spinal vascular malformation. Further, more concentrated tests such as a spinal catheter angiography may be implemented to determine the type and severity of the malformation.

Treatment for Spinal Vascular Malformation

The type of malformation may determine the manner of treatment necessary. Common treatment methods include:

  • Endovascular embolization – the physician guides a tiny catheter to the affected area and seals off the malformation
  • Radiation therapy -  a method that shrinks the malformation
  • Surgery – a physician removes the malformation