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Risky procedure for AVM's

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Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:06 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

An AVM is a malformation in the face that happens when there's an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. Now, some patients are rolling the dice on a risky procedure.

This is what Susan Adams looked like a few months ago. She had an Arteriovenous Malformation - or AVM - growing on her face. The slightest bump could cause massive bleeding. "It would rupture where it would actually project three or four feet away from you."

She worried a bad bleed could kill her. After six surgeries failed to remove the AVM, Susan lost hope. "When doctors tell you there's nothing they can do for you, it does get difficult."

Then, surgeons at Johns Hopkins tried a risky, but potentially life-saving procedure. Amir Dorafshar, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Johns Hopkins says, "To be honest, I was quite scared when I saw it."

Doctor Monica pearl used a needle to puncture Susan's lip under ultrasound guidance. She then cut off the AVM's blood supply and glued it shut. "But preserve her normal tissue, so that she could heal from her surgery."

Doctor Amir Dorafshar then carefully cut out the AVM and reconstructed her face.

Now, Susan can be as active as she wants. "Not only did they save my life, but they changed my quality of life, so I'm happy, very thankful."

AVM’s affect about 250,000 people in the United States.

The standard way to treat them is through a catheter.

Doctors originally told Susan her AVM was untreatable because of her previous surgeries.

If Susan's AVM was not removed, it could have led to fatal blood loss.

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