What is a Cerebral Aneurysm?
A cerebral (brain) aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of an artery in the brain that causes an outward bulging or “ballooning.” Brain aneurysms affect approximately 1 out of every 15 people in the United States. There are nearly 500,000 deaths worldwide each year caused by brain aneurysms.
Three Types of Cerebral Aneurysms
- Saccular: This is the most common type of aneurysm. It is shaped like a berry and accounts for 80-90% of all brain aneurysms. This type is more likely to rupture if not treated.
- Fusiform: This type of aneurysm is less common and seldom ruptures.
- Mycotic: This type is rare and result from infection. The infection weakens and damages the blood vessel, which increases the risk of rupturing.
- High blood pressure/Hypertension
- Family history of aneurysms
- Age- most prevalent in people ages 50 to 60
- Gender- brain aneurysms are more commonly found in females than in males (3:2)
- Traumatic head injury
- Drug use- particularly cocaine
Symptoms of Cerebral Aneurysms
- Pain above and behind the eye
- Blurred vision
- Dilated pupils
- Sensitivity to light
- Weakness and/or numbness
- Nausea and vomiting
If an aneurysm ruptures, blood may leak into the subarachnoid space around the brain. This is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). A ruptured aneurysm may quickly become life-threatening. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, please seek medical attention immediately.
Diagnosis of Cerebral Aneurysms
There are several methods that doctors use to detect aneurysms. They include:
- Cerebral Angiography
- Computed Tomographic Angiography (CTA)
- Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan)
- Doppler Ultrasound
- Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
Surgical Treatment Options for Cerebral Aneurysms
If you have a brain aneurysm that needs to be surgically treated, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic can help. They offer the two most commonly used surgical treatments for cerebral aneurysms.
- Surgical Clipping- An incision is made on the skin on the top of the head. The surgeon will then place a small metallic clip, or multiple clips, along the aneurysm. This prevents blood from entering the aneurysm sac in order to prevent future bleeding.
- Endovascular Coiling- This surgery uses the bloodstream to diagnose and treat brain aneurysms. The surgeon seals off the aneurysm and stops further bleeding from entering and increasing the risk of rupturing.