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Finding the Right Doctor for Brain Aneurysm Repair

You count on a surgeon's expertise. What else should you be thinking about?

What is brain aneurysm repair?

Brain aneurysm repair is surgery to fix a cerebral (brain) aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakened area in a blood vessel wall that widens and bulges. Over time, this weakened area can grow, stretch, balloon outward, and possibly rupture (burst). There is a significant risk of death associated with a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. Brain aneurysm repair is a treatment for cerebral aneurysms aimed at preventing rupture and hemorrhaging or bleeding into the brain.

Brain aneurysm repair is a major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a having brain aneurysm repair.

Types of brain aneurysm repair

The types of brain aneurysm repair procedures include:

  • Clipping involves placing a small, metal clip around the base of your cerebral aneurysm. This prevents it from bursting or rupturing. Your doctor must remove part of your skull in order to place the clip. After the clipping, your doctor will reattach the piece of skull. Doctors also use this surgery in an emergency after a cerebral aneurysm has burst.
  • Endovascular coil embolization, or coiling, involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor feeds or guides the catheter wire to the area in the brain where the aneurysm is located. Your doctor uses X-rays to help guide the catheter to the correct position. Once in position, your doctor inserts tiny metal coils inside your aneurysm. This causes the aneurysm to clot off and prevents rupture.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to brain aneurysm repair. These include:

  • Occlusion involves clamping or occluding the artery that leads to your cerebral aneurysm. This procedure is usually done when an aneurysm has damaged the artery.
  • Bypass involves using a blood vessel taken from somewhere else in your body to create a new route around a damaged cerebral artery. A bypass is usually done along with an occlusion.
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 7, 2013

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Medical References

Cerebral Aneurysm. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Cerebral%20Aneurysm.aspx. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Cerebral Aneurysm. BetterMedicine. http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/cerebral-aneurysm-information. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Cerebral Aneurysms Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_aneurysm/detail_cerebral_aneurysms.htm. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Embolization of Brain Aneurysms and Fistulas. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dc-embol. Accessed April 21, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed April 21, 2013.

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