Aneurysm Clipping

Aneurysm clipping is a type of surgery to treat a ballooning (cerebral aneurysm) in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain. The procedure is performed to prevent the aneurysm from bursting and causing a hemorrhage (severe bleeding) which could result in permanent brain damage or death.

In this procedure, the patient is under general anesthesia (unconscious). An opening is made in the skull (craniotomy) to allow the surgeon access to the aneurysm. A surgical microscope is used to view the aneurysm and place a tiny, spring-loaded clip over the aneurysm. Blood flow to the aneurysm is stopped by the clip and the aneurysm collapses, while blood continues to flow through the normal walls of the blood vessel. Hospitalization may last a week.

Aneurysm Coiling

Aneurysm coiling is a minimally invasive procedure that uses neuroendovascular surgery techniques to treat an aneurysm in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain.

Aneurysm coiling may be used as an alternative to the more traditional treatment of aneurysm clipping, as many patients are not good candidates for clipping due to their medical condition or the location of the aneurysm.

Instead of the open incision used in aneurysm clipping, a platinum coil is delivered to the aneurysm through a series of tiny catheters (thin, flexible tubes). Catheters are inserted into a small incision in the upper thigh and guided through the bloodstream to the site of the aneurysm in the brain.

There, the coil is deployed into the aneurysm, forming a clot, which prevents blood from filling up the aneurysm. Instead, blood flows only through the normal walls of the blood vessel.

Sometimes coiling is used in combination with stenting, in which a tiny, tube-like structure is placed near the aneurysm to keep a coiled aneurysm from collapsing the entire blood vessel and cutting off blood supply within the brain.

Flow Diversion

Another endovascular treatment option for specific aneurysms is flow diversion, which is sometimes referred to as pipeline embolization.

In flow diversion, a special stent with very tight side junctions is placed over the neck of the aneurysm. The stent diverts the blood flow away from the aneurysm into the normal artery.