A brain aneurysm has a lot in common with a ticking time bomb, except the person has no idea when the clock is set to go off, or even if it is set to go off at all.
Most patients don’t even realize they have a brain aneurysm. While some people with show symptoms such as headaches or vision problems, most people have no symptoms until the aneurysm ruptures. Once this happens, the patient has a bleed in the brain, causing strokes, brain damage, and often death.
At Texas Neurosurgery, we perform aneurysm clipping to treat brain aneurysms. This procedure will decrease the chances of rupture and cerebral hemorrhage.
A brain aneurysm is a blood-filled pouch bulging out from a weak spot in the wall of a brain artery. Just because you have an aneurysm doesn’t mean it will rupture. In fact, brain aneurysm ruptures have about a one percent risk in the general population. It is thought that between one and five percent of Americans may have unruptured brain aneurysms.
The problems come when they rupture. If rupture occurs and there is bleeding into the brain, the chances of the patient surviving are only one in two. The odds of surviving without severe brain damage are only one in four. Every year, about 15,000 Americans have a stroke from a ruptured brain aneurysm.
How to treat them
Once an aneurysm is found, it is thought that it should be removed or addressed to head off the possibility of rupture. The goal is to perform an aneurysm clipping procedure to prevent blood from entering the aneurysm sac, which then decreases the chances of rupture and brain bleeding.
How is an aneurysm clipping done?
Aneurysm clipping aims to separate an aneurysm from adjacent, properly functioning arteries without damaging them. The procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The head is placed in a three-pin skull fixation device. Next, a portion of the scalp is shaved, and an incision is made in the area. A craniotomy then opens the skull to access the dura mater, the protective coating surrounding the brain. The dura mater is carefully opened to expose the brain. At this point, the aneurysm is found, and a clip is placed on the neck of an aneurysm. This clip must be tested to be sure it’s not obstructing any nearby arteries. Once that has been verified, the dura mater is sutured shut, the bone of the skull is reattached with titanium plates and screws, and the skin is sutured back together.
Now that additional blood is prevented from entering the aneurysm sac, the aneurysm begins to shrink in size. It will scar down permanently after clipping.
Aneurysm clipping isn’t a procedure to trust to just any surgeon. The team at Texas Neurosurgery has extensive experience in these types of procedures. If you’ve been told you have an aneurysm, trust us to be able to clip it off before it ruptures. Call us at 214-823-2052 for a consultation.