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Brain Aneurysm - Topic Overview

How is it treated?

Your doctor will think about several things before deciding the best treatment for you. Things that will determine the type of treatment you receive include your age, size of the aneurysm, any additional risk factors, and your overall health.

Because the risk of a small (less than 10 mm) aneurysm rupturing is low and surgery for a brain aneurysm is often risky, your doctor may want to continue to observe your condition rather than do surgery. If your aneurysm is large or causing pain or other symptoms, though, or if you have had a previous ruptured aneurysm, your doctor may recommend surgery.

The following surgeries are used to treat both ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms:

  • Embolization. During this procedure, a small tube is inserted into the affected artery and positioned near the aneurysm. For coil embolization, soft metal coils are then moved through the tube into the aneurysm, filling the aneurysm and making it less likely to rupture. In mesh embolization, mesh is placed in the aneurysm, reducing blood flow to the aneurysm and making it less likely to rupture. These procedures are less invasive and are believed to be safer than surgical clipping. But they may not work as well at reducing the risk of a later rupture. Either procedure should be done in a large hospital where many procedures like these are done.
  • Surgical clipping. This surgery involves placing a small metal clip around the base of the aneurysm to isolate it from normal blood circulation. This decreases the pressure on the aneurysm and prevents it from rupturing. Whether this surgery can be done depends on the location of the aneurysm, its size, and your general health.

Some aneurysms bulge in such a way that the aneurysm has to be cut out and the ends of the blood vessel stitched together, but this is very rare. Sometimes the artery is not long enough to stitch together, and a piece of another artery has to be used.

Aneurysms that have bled are very serious. In many cases, they lead to death or disability. Management includes hospitalization, intensive care to relieve pressure in the brain and maintain breathing and vital functions (such as blood pressure), and treatment to prevent rebleeding.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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