Brain Aneurysms

A brain aneurysm diagnosis can be alarming, but we are with you every step of the way to provide information, support and treatment options.

A brain aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery in the brain, resulting in abnormal widening or ballooning and a risk of bursting, if blood flow isn’t blocked. Although ruptured aneurysms are relatively uncommon, they are very serious.

Sometimes referred to as hemorrhagic stroke, aneurysms can result from congenital defects or from other conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries), head trauma or infection.

Aneurysms usually occur at the base of the brain just inside the skull. Unruptured brain aneurysms typically are symptomless and less than one-half-inch in diameter. However, large, unruptured aneurysms can press on the brain or nearby nerves, causing sudden and severe headache, blurred vision, dizziness, numbness and/or loss of consciousness. Seek immediate medical help if you experience any of these symptoms.

Individuals at high risk of brain aneurysm can be identified easily with non-invasive imaging screening.

When an Aneurysm Is Detected

Thanks to recent medical advances, treatment for brain aneurysms is more effective and less invasive than it was several years ago. If an aneurysm has already ruptured, urgent treatment is needed to prevent re-bleeding by safely sealing off the aneurysm.

Treatment options include:

  • Endovascular surgery and embolization/coiling. A very thin metal wire is inserted through the blood vessel, forming a coil inside the aneurysm to block blood flow. In patients with advanced age, serious medical problems or other factors that increase surgical risk, coiling is the preferred treatment.
  • Stenting. When the opening into the aneurysm is wide, a small stent can be placed inside the aneurysm, helping keep the coils in place. Such stents are implanted permanently into the artery, sometimes in a separate procedure.
  • Craniotomy. An operation to “clip” the aneurysm may be performed by opening the skull surgically and isolating the aneurysm from the normal bloodstream. Craniotomy may also help relieve increased intracranial pressure.

Because every case is different, we will discuss all viable treatments with you and help you determine your best treatment option.