“Aneurysms are probably more common then you think. We find them in patients who may come in after a trauma or a head CT or MRI scan or unrelated symptoms,” says Dr. Greg Velat, neurosurgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.
If you learned a blood vessel in your brain was blowing up like a balloon, what would you do?
“The real question is, once you discover an aneurysm how do you manage it? And a lot of that gets back to where the aneurysm is located, the size of the aneurysm and its morphology- how it appears,” says Dr. Velat.
“You can see she has a very sizable aneurysm rising from her carotid artery,” says Dr. Velat.
Some aneurysms will never cause a problem, but they all merit surveillance and some may benefit from proactive surgery.
“If it’s something that looks a little more ominous or larger in size, the thought process being larger aneurysms being more likely to rupture,” says Dr. Velat.
As many as half the people who experience a burst aneurysm don’t make it to the hospital. Today doctors have a specialized surgery that can go into the brain and fix the aneurysm, without surgery. Called ‘coiling’ surgeons thread a catheter through an artery and place a platinum coil inside the bloated blood vessel.
“You can see it’s very soft and pliable and it kind of has a preconfigured shape so as you deploy it kind of takes on these bends and turns and that’s just sort of the characteristic property of the coil,” says Dr. Velat.
The coil creates an internal structure that collects the blood.
“The platelets love to stick to the platinum and essentially clots the aneurysm,” says Dr. Velat.
This technology allows surgeons to treat high-risk aneurysms in a less invasive manner. But is something you should discuss with your specialist.