It's disfiguring, dangerous, and difficult to treat. An AVM is a maformation in the face that happens when there's an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. It affects about 250,000 people in the United States. The standard way to treat them is through a catheter inserted in the groin, but now some patients are rolling the dice on a risky procedure.
One woman, Susan Adams, suffered from AVM growing on her face. The slightest bump could cause massive bleeding and brought worries that a bad bleed could kill her.
Adams said that, "It would rupture where it would actually project three or four feet away."
Adams went through six surgeries and they all failed to remove the AVM and said, "when doctors tell you there's nothing they can do for you, it does get difficult."
With hopes dwindling, Adams allowed surgeons at Johns Hopkins to try a risky, but potentially life-saving procedure. Doctor Monica Pearl used a needle to puncture Adam's lip under ultrasound guidance. Pearl then cut off the AVM blood supply and glued it shut. The next step was for Doctor Amir Dorafshar to carefully cut out the AVM and reconstruct Adam's face. The procedure was successful and now Adams is able to be as active as she wants.
Doctors originally told Susan her AVM was untreatable because of previous surgeries that failed to fix the problem, but she remained hopeful. "Not only did they save my life, but they changed my quality of life, so I'm happy, very thankful."