AVM: Recovering from surgery

After AVM (arteriovenous malformation) surgery is done, the surgeon will talk with your loved ones. You'll wake up in a recovery area. Then you'll be moved to a special unit where you can be closely watched. This is often an ICU (intensive care unit).

Healthcare provider caring for man in intensive care unit bed while woman stands nearby.

In the hospital

If you're in pain, your nurses can give you medicines to help. Special equipment may be used to monitor your condition and help you breathe. When you're able, you'll be moved from the ICU to a step-down unit or to a regular hospital room. You'll continue your recovery there.

At home

You may be able to go home as soon as you can walk, eat, and drink normally. You may have an office visit within a week or so after your surgery. At this time, any remaining stitches or staples may be removed. You can expect to meet with your surgeon several times during the first few months. You may also have follow-up imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan. These make sure your AVM is stable.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your surgeon right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased drowsiness

  • Ongoing nausea or vomiting

  • Headaches

  • Seizure

  • Shortness of breath

  • Increased muscle weakness

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Burning feeling when you pee

  • Redness or drainage from the incision or an IV site

  • Swelling of a leg with or without pain in the calf

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