For those who are suffering from a cerebral aneurysm, it's important to know what treatment options are available for this highly dangerous condition. Thankfully, neurosurgery has been offering many new advances to treat this medical condition, with endovascular embolization serving as one of the top neurosurgical choices. This procedure has the potential to save both your life and protect brain function, but you should be aware of how this surgery is performed and the potential risks as well.
About Cerebral Aneurysms
A cerebral aneurysm is characterized as a bulging artery or vein inside your brain. This bulge results from a weakness in a vein or artery wall, which causes a small balloon inside the vessel to form. Small aneurysms can be as small as 15mm but some aneurysms, known as super giant aneurysms, can be over 50mm in size. This type of aneurysm can eventually rupture, spilling blood into your brain and damaging sensitive tissue. A ruptured aneurysm is known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and can lead to brain damage, paralysis, and in many cases can be fatal.
What You Should Know About Endovascular Embolization
Endovascular embolization surgery is often performed as an emergency medical procedure, but there are some circumstances in which you and your family can make a decision about this type of surgery beforehand.
A neurosurgeon is usually responsible for performing this surgery, and it begins with the neurosurgeon making a small incision in your groin area. From there, a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel located in your thigh area known as the femoral artery. This catheter is carefully guided with an X-ray through your body's circulatory system all the way up to the point that needs to be targeted.
Once the catheter reaches its target, a material will be injected into a specific area of your brain. This material can different depending on the type of aneurysm you're experiencing and the area of the brain where it's located. Materials can include a metal coil, foam, extremely small plastic particles, and biologically safe glue that does not interfere with normal tissue functioning.
For many patients, this surgery is effective at stopping an aneurysm and other abnormalities present inside the brain that can interfere with proper blood flow.
In some cases, this surgery will not be enough to fix your aneurysm, and other surgical methods will need to be applied afterwards, such as stereotactic radiotherapy or stereotactic radiotherapy. However, it depends on the specific condition inside your brain and a thorough examination by your neurosurgeon.
Knowing the Risks
It's not always possible to review all of the risks associated with endovascular embolization, especially if it's being performed in an emergency situation. However, for those who are planning this surgery in advance, you should be aware that complications can occur, such as bleeding in the brain, infection, failure of the blocking material to work, and further strokes.
Ultimately, an endovascular embolization is a life-saving surgical technique that is very effective for many patients. There are risks involved, but often the greater risk is refusing to undergo any type of neurosurgery. Speak with a well trained neurosurgeon and learn about your options in advance to make an informed decision about what's best for your health.