A brain aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of a brain artery that bulges or balloons out, almost like a weak spot on a tire does when inflated with air. It can then burst and create a massive brain hemorrhage, with severe neurological problems or even death.
However, most brain aneurysms do not rupture, and they are detected while investigating other brain conditions, like headaches. Risk factors for brain aneurysms include high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, having a family history of aneurysms, and the female sex.
When it comes to brain aneurysms, a comprehensive approach is important to consider. Taking into account a patient’s age, their risks factors, and associated medical conditions helps your physician offer treatment options as opposed to more conservative management.
When treatment of the brain aneurysms is appropriate, they can be treated with open brain surgery or minimally invasive endovascular treatment.
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Open brain surgery had been the conventional way of treating brain aneurysms. It encounters making an incision on the scalp, creating a window in the bone and placing a clip over the bulging sac, to obliterate the aneurysm. It generally requires 2 to 4 days in the hospital.
Minimally invasive endovascular treatment of aneurysms does not require a scalp incision. Instead, a catheter is placed inside an artery in the groin or the arm and navigated through the arteries till the aneurysm sac is catheterized.
Platinum coils are detached inside the bulging sac, to obliterate the aneurysm. Newer endovascular technologies are emerging to assure better outcomes in the treatment of aneurysms, with less hospital stay.
When a patient opts for treatment at Ochsner, we favor the use of minimally invasive techniques. Patients generally, stay in the hospital for less 24 hours and are discharged home. We have also embraced newer technologies that changed the way we approach aneurysms, including the use of flow diverters. Ochsner is one of the few centers in the United States to offer this revolutionary technology to treat aneurysms.
A stent-like device is placed across the bulging aneurysm, it diverts the blood flow away from the aneurysm sac and eventually functions like a scaffolding device for cells within the blood vessel to seal the aneurysm sac from the inside, preventing it from rupture.