Moyamoya in Children

What is moyamoya?

Moyamoya is a rare condition in which the blood vessels (internal carotid arteries) that supply blood to the brain become narrowed. This limits the flow of blood to the brain, and puts them at risk for stroke.

The brain tries to make up for reduced blood flow by growing new blood vessels, called collaterals. While these blood vessels can temporarily help increase blood supply, they eventually stop working. The name “moyamoya,” which means “puff of smoke” in Japanese, refers to the wispy, smoke-like appearance of these new blood vessels on an x-ray.

Moyamoya is a progressive condition, meaning that it gets worse over time, so children need treatment to reduce their risk of stroke.

Some children with moyamoya also have another medical condition, such as:

Our areas of innovation for moyamoya

The experts in our Moyamoya Program are international leaders in understanding and treating this life-threatening condition. More than 25 years ago, our physicians developed an effective surgery for moyamoya, called pial synangiosis. This surgery works by allowing new blood vessels to grow from the new scalp artery, which brings more blood to the brain.

Over the past 25 years, our surgeons have performed more than 50 of these procedures each year. Boston Children’s neurosurgeon Edward Smith, MD, is the most experienced surgeon performing this surgery in the country today, with the best results worldwide.

Our Moyamoya Program treats adults as well as children. Contact us to request an appointment, second opinion or consultation.