Susan Adams had an arteriovenous malformation or AVM growing on her face. The slightest bump could cause massive bleeding. She says, " 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," she says, " it does get difficult."
Then, surgeons at Johns Hopkins tried a risky - but potentially life-saving -- procedure.
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Amir Dorafshar admits, "to be honest, I was quite scared when I saw it."
Doctor Monica Pearl is an assistant professor in the Division of Interventional Neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins. She used a needle to puncture Susan's lip under ultrasound guidance. She then cut off the AVM's blood supply and glued it shut.
Doctor Dorafshar then carefully cut out the AVM and reconstructed Susan's face. There's a huge difference in her appearance and that's not all.
Now, Susan can be as active as she wants. She says, "not only did they save my life, but they changed my quality of life, so I'm happy, very thankful."
AVMs affect about 250,000 people in the United States. The standard way to treat them is through a catheter inserted in the groin. If Susan's AVM hadn't been removed, it could have led to fatal blood loss.