When my then 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with an AVM this summer, I learned alot from this website, but it was also very scary to read what could lie ahead for her. At first we were told surgery was not an option for her because it was located near the motor strip and speech area, and about 4 cm. Many on this site advised to talk to more than one surgeon, and go with one you have confidence in. For us, that was Dr. Bendok at Northwestern in Chicago.
After the angio and functional MRI, surgery was an option after all, and is what we decided to go with, even though they warned us she would most likely have some deficits, especially in her right arm - but with her youth and otherwise being healthy, she should be able to recover with therapy. Radiation also had risks for her, so we felt surgery was the best option for her.
She had an embolozation on November 16, 2011 and the AVM was successfully removed the next day. She did have problems with her right side and speech after surgery, but is doing great now. She is doing some outpatient OT and speech therapy, but most people can't tell much difference from before surgery. She is working with a tutor and hopes to back in school for second semester.
My profile picture is her, taken a couple of weeks ago, just one month after surgery. unless you look at the top of her head, or in front of her ear you can't even tell. Dr. Bendok and the staff at Northwestern were not only very experienced with treating complicated AVMs, but their compasion for my daughter was outstanding.
My advice would be the same as many others on here - talk to more than one surgeon, be sure they have alot of experience with AVMs, and then go with who your heart tells you is right.