Surgery for a Brain Aneurysm: Hospital Recovery
A patient may spend 1–4 weeks in the hospital. The stay depends on the amount of damage caused by the aneurysm, your loved one’s health, and response to treatment. The health care team will monitor how well treatment has worked. Then they will decide whether rehabilitation is needed.
In the ICU
You can visit your loved one in the intensive care unit (ICU). He or she may be attached to many devices to monitor pressure on the brain, any new bleeding, vasospasm, and body functions. Special devices may be used to help maintain blood flow in the legs. After open surgery, a patient’s head may be bandaged. After an endovascular procedure, a patient needs to lie still for several hours. Once stable, your loved one will be moved to a regular hospital room.
Evaluating the Outcome
Follow-up tests may be done 3–5 days after treatment to show how well the treatment worked. They may also reveal new problems. An arteriogram shows an image of a treated aneurysm. A Doppler test may be done daily to check for vasospasm. A CT scan shows any bleeding or swelling in the brain that may occur after treatment. In some cases, an MRI scan may be ordered. This is another type of scan that can image brain tissue.
As Healing Begins
At first, a patient may be on a liquid diet. As the body recovers, he or she can start eating solid foods. The ability to swallow, move about, and perform other functions will be checked. Patients also learn breathing exercises. This helps the body recover from surgery.
Working Toward Recovery
Sometimes, a patient has trouble moving his or her arms or legs. If so, rehabilitation may be needed. Special therapists work with the patient to help improve balance, strength, speech, and daily living skills. A therapist may suggest equipment that can help a patient move about at home.