Embolization for Brain Aneurysm
A brain aneurysm is a balloonlike bulge in the wall of a brain artery. If this aneurysm ruptures and bleeds, nearby brain tissues may be damaged. This can be very serious: it can cause a stroke and may even be fatal. To prevent bleeding, treatment may need to be started as soon as possible. For some aneurysms, a treatment called cerebral embolization is recommended. Embolization for a brain aneurysm is done in an x-ray lab by a specially trained doctor called an interventional neuroradiologist.
During the Procedure
The procedure is done using general anesthesia.
A long, slender, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery (a large artery in the groin). The catheter is guided up through the artery to the brain.
Contrast medium (x-ray dye) is injected through the catheter. This helps the artery and catheter show up better on x-rays. The movement of the catheter to the aneurysm can then be watched on a video monitor.
The catheter is used to place thin coils of platinum into the aneurysm. These coils cause a blood clot to form in the aneurysm. This clot seals the aneurysm and prevents it from bleeding.
After the Procedure
The patient needs to lie still for several hours after the procedure. Once stable, the patient will return to a regular hospital room. He or she may stay 1 to 4 weeks in the hospital. This depends on the amount of damage caused by the aneurysm. During this time, the healthcare team will monitor how well the treatment has worked. This includes certain follow-up tests, sometimes including a repeat arteriogram (imaging test of the arteries in the brain).
Potential Risks and Complications Include