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What Everyone Should Know About Brain Aneurysms

A brain aneurysm is a weak spot involving a blood vessel in the brain seen as an abnormal bulge.  Brain aneurysms can leak or rupture, resulting in a brain bleed (hemorrhage) which could result in severe permanent disability and/or death.  A ruptured aneurysm is considered a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention and treatment. Symptoms include a sudden, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, neck pain, blurred vision or loss of consciousness. 

Endovascular treatment or embolization is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat brain aneurysms. The neurointerventional surgeon feeds a soft, flexible catheter into the brain aneurysm through a small hole made in the artery of the groin or the artery of the wrist.  Embolization of the aneurysm is then accomplished by various techniques, such as placement of platinum coils inside the aneurysm, thereby blocking blood flow into the aneurysm, or by placement of a flow diverting device, such as a pipeline flow diverter, in order to direct blood flow away from the aneurysm.  

These techniques are performed under general anesthesia and take just a few hours.  Endovascular embolization can be used to treat both ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms. The decision to treat an unruptured brain aneurysm that is not causing symptoms is based on many factors including the size, shape, and location of the aneurysm, your overall health and your family history. 

Regarding aneurysm diagnosis, Fairfax Radiology Centers (FRC) offers top quality diagnostic imaging in the hands of highly trained, caring subspecialized radiologists. Learn more about imaging studies at FRC 

Once the diagnosis is made, a plan for treatment can be formulated by consulting our neurointerventional surgeons, Edward D. Greenberg M.D. or Manuel C. Fortes M.D. Our physicians have performed thousands of minimally invasive procedures, and offer the newest technologies and therapies to treat even the most complex neurovascular cases. See our physicians here.

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