Brain Aneurysms

Simply put, an aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or ballooning in the wall of a blood vessel. They can occur in different areas of the body, but Semmes Murphey specializes in aneurysms located in the brain.

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


In many cases, brain aneurysms do not produce symptoms and are found incidentally on CT or MRI images obtained for other reasons (such as headaches).

In other cases, patients report experiencing a sudden, severe headache as the reason they sought medical attention.

In either case, brain aneurysms should be evaluated by an experienced neurologist who can assess the aneurysm’s size, location, and other factors to determine the proper course of action.

If a brain aneurysm is suspected, patients are given a test or series of tests to determine whether there has been bleeding into the space between the brain and surrounding tissues (subarachnoid hemorrhage) or possibly another type of stroke.


Physicians usually rely on two common treatments when dealing with brain aneurysms:

  • Surgical clipping is a procedure to close off an aneurysm. The neurosurgeon removes a section of your skull to access the aneurysm and locates the blood vessel that feeds the aneurysm. Then he or she places a tiny metal clip on the neck of the aneurysm to stop blood flow to it.
  • Endovascular coiling is a less invasive procedure than surgical clipping. The surgeon inserts a hollow plastic tube (catheter) into an artery, usually in the groin, and threads it through the body to the aneurysm.

He or she then uses a guide wire to push a soft platinum wire through the catheter and into the aneurysm. The wire coils up inside the aneurysm, disrupts the blood flow and essentially seals off the aneurysm from the artery.

There are other and newer treatments for treating ruptured and unruptured aneurysms available that your physician may or may not think would help you. Your neurosurgeon or interventional neuroradiologist, in collaboration with your neurologist, will make a recommendation based on the size, location and overall appearance of the brain aneurysm, your ability to undergo a procedure, and other factors.

Remember, all procedures pose some potential risks and should be discussed with your neurologist and/or neurology surgeon.

This information was provided by the specialists at Semmes Murphey Clinic. Readers are encouraged to research trustworthy organizations for information. Please talk with your physician for websites and sources that will enhance your knowledge and understanding of this issue and its treatment.

The neurologists at Semmes Murphey Clinic are very experienced with all types of brain issues and treatments. If you suspect you, a friend or family member are having issues, please call the neurologists at Semmes Murphey Clinic.

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