Aneurysms

Find Effective Treatment for Aneurysms at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic

What Is a Brain 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.

What Are the Types of Brain Aneurysms?

  • Saccular: This is the most common type of aneurysm, accounting for 80 to 90 percent of all brain aneurysms. It is shaped like a berry and 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 results from infection. The infection weakens and damages the blood vessel, which increases the risk of rupturing.

What Causes Brain Aneurysms?

Causes of brain aneurysms include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Family history of aneurysms
  • Age: They are most prevalent in people ages 50 to 60.
  • Gender: Brain aneurysms are more commonly found in women than men.
  • Traumatic head injury
  • Infection
  • Drug use, particularly cocaine

What Are the Symptoms of Brain Aneurysms?

Common symptoms include:

  • 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 can 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.

How Is a Brain Aneurysm Diagnosed?

There are several methods that doctors use to detect aneurysms. They include:

  • Cerebral angiography: An angiogram is often used to determine the degree of narrowing of an artery and to detect the location and size of aneurysms and vascular malformations. A catheter is inserted into a major artery in the groin, dye is injected, and X-rays are taken.
  • Computed tomographic angiography (CTA): This test uses a combination of injected contrast material and CT scanning to help diagnose and evaluate aneurysms.
  • Computed tomography (CAT scan): This uses X-rays to develop 3-D images of the brain, and can capture images in slices from many different angles.
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound: A test that measures cerebrovascular function.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA): A test that evaluates blood vessels without ionizing radiation, using a powerful magnetic field and radio waves.

How Are Brain Aneurysms Treated?

If you have a brain aneurysm that needs to be surgically treated, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic can help. We 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 then places 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, which could increase the risk of it rupturing.

Make an Appointment

Our neurosurgeons at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic are skilled and experienced at treating brain aneurysms. To meet with one of our brain tumor specialists, make an appointment today.

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