Cerebral Aneurysm Coiling
Cerebral Aneurysm Coiling
A cerebral aneurysm diagnosis can be frightening. Not only are most cerebral aneurysms silent, but they can lead to disability or death if they rupture.
Thankfully, patients today can avoid these complications with a quick and minimally invasive treatment known as cerebral aneurysm coiling. This endovascular procedure has high success rates and shorter recovery times compared to open surgery. Our experts at Vascular and Interventional Partners are trained and experienced in treating even the most complex and critical cases using this advanced technique.
What Is Cerebral Aneurysm Coiling?
Also called endovascular coiling, cerebral aneurysm coiling is used to treat cerebral aneurysms. The procedure involves guiding a catheter from major arteries into the brain to inject tiny platinum coils into the aneurysm to stop blood flow.
A cerebral aneurysm is a ballooning of a weak point in a blood vessel inside the brain. When it leaks or ruptures, it causes potentially life-threatening bleeding into the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). This is why treating it in a timely fashion with cerebral aneurysm coiling is often necessary.
Endovascular coiling can be used to treat ruptured and unruptured aneurysms. For ruptured aneurysms, treatment is necessary within two days to prevent death or disability. For an unruptured aneurysm, treatment is necessary only when it is likely to leak or rupture.
Cerebral Aneurysm Coiling
The benefits of this approach include:
- Minimally-invasive procedure
- Low risk of complications
- Low risk of recurrence
- High success rates
- Quick recovery and minimal scarring
- Ideal for older or critically ill patients
Choosing Vascular and Interventional Partners for Your Endovascular Coiling Procedure
A cerebral aneurysm is a potentially life-threatening medical problem. Getting treated by skilled and experienced medical professionals can boost your odds of survival and full recovery.
Our team of five doctors represents Arizona’s most respected interventional radiology division. All our doctors are fellowship-trained and have treated thousands of patients with outstanding outcomes. They have years of experience treating some of the sickest patients and the most complex cases in this field. When other IR physicians in Scottsdale, AZ, are not comfortable treating certain patients due to a lack of experience or knowledge, they typically refer their patients to us. We are proud to bring world-class IR care to our community.
If you are looking for a second opinion or want to make a referral to Arizona’s leading interventional radiology team, please contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between endovascular coiling and surgical clipping?
Cerebral aneurysm coiling is a less invasive alternative to surgical clipping. While both surgical clipping and endovascular coiling have risks and benefits, endovascular coiling remains the first-line treatment for ruptured and unruptured cerebral aneurysms, especially for patients with poor health and underlying medical conditions.
It’s critical to match the right patient with the right procedure. Your treatment team will determine which approach you are a candidate for based on your age and health, as well as the aneurysm's size, location and neck geometry.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
Preparation depends on whether the patient presents with a ruptured or unruptured aneurysm. Because a ruptured aneurysm is treated as a medical emergency, patients need to be stabilized and the source of the hemorrhaging must be located before the procedure can begin. Based on findings, the specialists determine the best course of treatment, which is discussed with the patient and their family.
With unruptured aneurysms, patients have time to prepare for a scheduled procedure. This may include blood tests, X-rays and electrocardiograms in the days leading up to the procedure. You may also need to stop taking certain medications or supplements a week before surgery.
What happens during the cerebral aneurysm coiling procedure?
Cerebral aneurysm coiling is performed by neuroradiologists with specialized training in endovascular surgery.
The treatment starts with you lying down on an X-ray table and being administered general anesthesia and anti-clotting medication. We will secure your head so it doesn’t move while the procedure is taking place.
Next, we will shave and cleanse the groin or thigh area before making a small incision. The specialist then locates the femoral artery and inserts a hollow needle followed by a plastic catheter. Contrast dye is injected into the bloodstream to make blood vessels visible on an X-ray monitor (fluoroscope). This will help your provider guide the catheter up the aorta, past the heart and to the site of the aneurysm.
Once the aneurysm is located, your provider advances a microcatheter into the aneurysm and fills it with coils. If your aneurysm has a wide “neck,” your provider may place a stent inside the artery of the aneurysm to keep the coils in place.
What is the expected recovery after cerebral aneurysm coiling?
You will be transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU), where nurses will monitor your recovery as the anesthesia wears off. You will be given medications to manage any pain and nausea.
In the first two to six hours after your procedure, you will need to lay flat on your back. Patients treated for unruptured aneurysms are discharged the next day, while those treated for ruptured aneurysms may need to be hospitalized for up to 21 days.
At home, patients treated for an unruptured aneurysm can manage any tenderness, pain and discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication and warm compresses. You will be advised to drink plenty of fluids in the first few days of your recovery to flush out the contrast dye. Your provider will also explain how to take care of your incision, when to return to your usual activities and which potential complications to look out for.
Patients treated for a ruptured aneurysm may take weeks to recover fully. Unfortunately, those who have developed a brain injury from the aneurysm may develop permanent problems with speech, movement and thinking.