Advanced Neurovascular Treatment Options at UPMC Children's

Children from across the U.S. come to us so they can get treatment for hard-to-reach and complex vessel problems.

We provide your child with cutting-edge and evidence-based care by working together with our surgical, imaging, and medical teams.

Open Neurovascular Surgery

We use advanced technology to perform surgery at a microscopic level. It helps us divert blood flow away from an area prone to bleeding or clotting.

Pial synangiosis

This type of indirect bypass is a common surgery for moyamoya syndrome.

A surgeon attaches a new blood vessel from the scalp to the brain's surface to let new blood flow to the brain.


Another common surgery is AVM removal.

Surgeons use a microscope and small tools to remove the tangled blood vessels while preserving the normal vessels.

Endovascular Surgery

Before open surgery to remove a malformed part of the blood vessels, we first seal it with safe material. Some examples of this include medical-grade coils or glue-like material.

This process — called embolization — reduces bleeding during surgery.

For this procedure, your child's surgeon:

  • Sends a small tube — or catheter — through a large blood vessel in the groin.
  • Uses x-rays to guide the small tube all the way to the malformed blood vessel.
  • Stops the blood flow to an aneurysm or AVM through the inside of the blood vessel without harming nearby tissue.
  • May place a stent (a tiny mesh-like tube) beside an aneurysm in the blood vessel. Blood flows through the stent, cutting the aneurysm's blood supply. Over time, this causes the aneurysm to shrink.

We also use endovascular surgery to remove a blood clot in a stroke.

The surgeon guides a special tool through the tube that expands at the clot. The device, with the clot attached to it, is then pulled under continuous vacuum applied to the tube to remove the clot.

Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery

Despite the name, this isn't a type of surgery. Instead, it involves sending high-powered radiation to a targeted area with surgical precision.

Doctors use this to treat very small or inoperable AVMs in the brain's blood vessels.

Blood Thinners

Doctors prescribe blood thinners if surgery or other techniques aren't the best options for your child.

They also combine blood thinners with surgical and other treatments to prevent blood clots.

We'll choose the safest blood thinner for your child based on their:

  • Blood vessel condition.
  • Age.
  • Lifestyle.
  • Unique needs.

We use rapid tests to make sure your child has the correct dosing and adjust it as needed.