A Treatment for Brain Aneurysms: April 26, 2019

While it’s scary to think about—doctors say brain aneurysms are more common than people realize.  “They don’t even know it, and they can go their whole life without knowing it,” said Dr. Constantine Plakas, a neurosurgeon with Lee Health.

But if the aneurysm ruptures—that’s when patients can experience severe symptoms. “They are maybe just watching TV or eating dinner and all of a sudden they have that sudden onset severe headache,” said Dr. Plakas.

An aneurysm can form when you have a weak point in the wall of a blood vessel.  If it continues to grow and becomes thinner, it can rupture causing a bleed in the brain.  “Coiling is one way to secure an aneurysm. Coiling is when you go in through a femoral artery catheter, and then through that catheter he is able to pass the wire through the artery to get right to the base of where an aneurysm is and then secure that aneurysm by filling it with these tiny flexible coils that are made out of platinum,” explained Debra Dean, an advanced provider with Lee Health.

Depending on the size, shape, and location of an aneurysm, coiling may be the best approach to keep an aneurysm from growing and rupturing. “This picture right here is an aneurysm with only two coils in it, but you can see that before the coils were put in the contrast is actually filling the artery and going into an aneurysm, but then once the coils are there you use it’s not filling with contrast anymore because an aneurysm is now secure, there’s no blood that would go through that artery,” said Dean.

The lack of blood flow to an aneurysm can force it to become smaller, lowering the risk to the patient. “You can coil a ruptured aneurysm or a non-ruptured aneurysm,” said Dean.

While each case is different, coiling is typically not a one-time fix. Patients will need to follow up with their physician to make sure the aneurysm is under control. A procedure that can help lower the risk of a rupture.