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What is an aneurysm?

A cerebral aneurysm (or intracranial aneurysm) is a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain that “balloons out” and fills with blood.

If not diagnosed or treated, aneurysms can rupture, causing a potentially fatal hemorrhage.

Aneurysms can occur at any age, although they are more common in adults. They are more common in women than men.

Symptoms

Small aneurysms often produce no symptoms. 

Larger, steadily growing ones may cause:

  • Headaches
  • Numbness in face
  • Vision problems

Immediately after an aneurysm ruptures, individuals may experience:

  • Sudden, severe headache (often described as "the worst headache of your life")
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Diagnosis

To diagnose an aneurysm, a minimally invasive angiogram will be performed.

Based on the location, size and shape of the aneurysm, either brain surgery or minimally invasive surgery will be recommended.

Treatments

Aneurysm clipping

Aneurysm clipping is a surgical procedure in which a clip is placed on the base of the aneurysm to prevent it from filling with blood. It is performed through a hole in the skull.

After the procedure, another cerebral angiogram will be done to ensure that the blood flow into the aneurysm has stopped.

Aneurysm endovascular embolization

During minimally invasive aneurysm endovascular embolization, a small catheter fitted with coils, glue or stents is inserted into the femoral artery, a blood vessel in the groin. 

The coils, glue or stents are threaded to the aneurysm to alter the blood flow. This will prevent a rupture while ensuring the surrounding blood vessels still have blood flow.

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