Should I be worried about these MRI results?

I just received a faxed report from an MRI/MRA taken of my daughter’s brain this week, a month after her first embolization, which occluded 80 percent of the 2x3 cm AVM in her left cerebellum. Our surgeon is on vacation, the one on call is unavailable til tomorrow, and I am worrying myself to death over language I can only Google. The terms that concern me: “developing encephalomalacia” and “chronic infarct, new sense last (pre-surgical) MRI.” Are these normal developments after an AVM is embolized, I sure don’t like the sound of it. Anyone familiar with these terms?

Hi Sydney. I did a search on the word encephalomalacia…
Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!

Wow, what a mouthful of medical jargon to receive by fax. How impersonal!! I hope everything turns out OK and you get a straight answer soon!! What a way to make a parent worry!!!

Hi Sydney,

Try to let it rest until you hear from the doctor tomorrow. We panicked over scan reports until we realized that the radiologists have to write as if they expected to see an ordinary, non-AVM brain. They can’t say, “We see exactly what you’d expect to see after an embolization.” So my husband’s CT reports always say that it looks like he might be having a stroke, and that’s not the case–they’re just seeing a brain that has been through a few procedures. It’s very likely that in your daughter’s case, they’re seeing the expected results of the work that was done. The new “chronic infarct” might be just the material that was used for embolization… a blockage that lasts is exactly what you want from an embo, right?

I hope the doctor calls you back nice and early to set your mind at ease!


Hi Sidney. I looked up the infarct and it means:area of dead tissue caused by inadequate blood supply. I think the encepha word has something to do with swelling. It seems like these things would be normal after an embolization. I’ll be praying that everything goes well. Hope you get all the answers tomorrow.

no you should not worry