What is an Aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a weak-walled sac on a blood vessel in the brain. Aneurysms can grow over time, creating a risk that they will rupture and cause a “subarachnoid hemorrhage” or bleeding on the surface of the brain. Usually patients with ruptured aneurysms are extremely ill, requiring emergency treatment.

Aneurysms can also be found incidentally on CT or MRI images obtained for other reasons (such as headaches). Incidentally discovered brain aneurysms should be evaluated by an experienced physician who can recommend either conservative management or treatment, depending on the aneurysm size, location, and other factors.

Aneurysm treatment usually involves one of two possible treatments. One option is open surgical treatment through a craniotomy, which allows surgeons to place a small metal clip onto the aneurysm to seal the sac and prevent further growth or bleeding. Another option is endovascular treatment, which allows surgeons to seal aneurysms from the inside by filling them with tiny coils. This method allows aneurysms to be treated through a small incision in the groin.

Semmes Murphey surgeons are experts in aneurysm evaluation and treatment. Approximately 250 to 300 patients with aneurysms are seen in our clinic each year.

Above is a 3D rendering of an aneurysm before treatment. Below is an angiogram of an aneurysm post-treatment.


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