Cerebrovascular Disorders Senior Group

A disruption of the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain or inside the brain can be catastrophic, causing stroke, aneurysm and AVM (arteriovenous malformation) among other types of cerebrovascular disease.

The University of Maryland Medical Center's neurosurgery team treats the full range of cerebrovascular diseases using a variety of techniques and technologies including several minimally invasive procedures.

As an academic medical center, our extensive research programs constantly inform our methods for treating cerebrovascular disease. Rich in new technology, our program uses a patient-centered approach focused on matching the right technology and treatment — whether it be an open surgery or a minimally invasive technique — with the individual patient.

Research and Technology

Working to improve future therapies and surgical techniques, our team of neurosurgeons oversees innovative clinical trials and taps into the latest technologies.

Researchers discovered the mechanism that, on the molecular level, fuels swelling after a stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, leading to a clinical trial of a medicine to reduce swelling. View more information about ongoing neurosurgical clinical trials.

Our neurosurgeons partner with the UM Gamma Knife Center — the first center of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic — to bring patients this minimally invasive treatment for AVMs and certain brain tumors. Highly focused radiation can target just the treatment area without affecting nearby tissue or causing the side effects of other radiation therapies.

Cerebrovascular Conditions We Treat

Depending on circumstances, our surgeons may use open brain surgery, catheters or highly focused radiation to treat cerebrovascular disorders.


What It Is

A weak area in the wall of a blood vessel causes it to bulge or balloon out. When in the brain, this is called a cerebral aneurysm.

How We Treat It

  • Open brain surgery creates an opening in the skull through which the surgeon places a clip on the aneurysm's opening to obstruct blood flowing into it.
  • Endovascular repair, a minimally invasive technique, uses a catheter to reach the aneurysm and then coils to induce clotting.

Arteriovenous and Cavernous Malformations

What It Is

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth. With cavernous malformations, a type of AVM, clusters of abnormal blood vessels in the brain or on the spinal cord fill with blood.

How We Treat It

  • Open brain surgery is an option for both AVMs and cavernous malformation. It allows the surgeon to access the abnormal vessels through an opening in the skull.
  • Embolization (endovascular treatment) uses a catheter to reach the AVM and then a glue-like substance to cut off blood supply. It is not used for cavernous malformations.
  • Gamma Knife is a noninvasive procedure in which radiation is aimed at the AVM or cavernous malformation, causing scarring and shrinkage and reducing the risk of bleeding.

Carotid Artery Disease

What It Is

Carotid artery disease occurs when these arteries in the neck that bring blood to the brain become narrowed or blocked.

How We Treat It

  • Endarterectomy removes plaque buildup in the arteries. In most cases, surgeons can make an incision in a patient's neck crease, minimizing the appearance of a scar.
  • Angioplasty and stenting involve placing a tiny, wire mesh inside the artery to keep it open.

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN)

The nerve that carries the sensations of touch and pain from the face to the brain is affected by the Trigeminal Neuralgia disorder, causing severe, chronic pain. Usually, it is caused by a blood vessel putting pressure on the nerve.

  • Microvascular decompression is a technique in which surgeons make a small opening through the bone behind the ear. Then, they move the vessel that is compressing the nerve and place a cushion between it and the nerve.
  • Gamma Knife is a noninvasive procedure, where radiation is aimed at the site where the trigeminal nerve leaves the brain. This causes a lesion that disrupts the transmission of sensory signals to the brain.

Read this Patient Story about a local pastor's life-changing treatment for this condition.