Aneurysm refers to a sac formed by localized dilation of the wall of an artery, a vein or the heart. A brain aneurysm arises as a result of weakness in the arterial wall of the brain. Rupture of the aneurysm can result in stroke or death.
A new approach combining the use of intracranial stents and coil embolization to strengthen the artery has been proposed as a treatment for the condition. It also saves the trouble of a complicated surgery that would involve opening of the skull.
Coil embolization is a procedure in which tiny coils are used to close off the aneurysm. A catheter inserted into the femoral artery (a blood vessel in the upper leg) is used to deliver the coils to the aneurysm in the blood vessels of the brain. The procedure is not without limitations.
Coil embolization is currently used to treat approximately 30 percent of cerebral aneurysms. The procedure is less invasive and requires significantly less recovery time than open surgery for aneurysm repair. Additional benefits include minimal blood loss and the option for local anesthesia.
If the aneurysm was more than 4mm, the "wide neck" of the aneurysm prevented the coil from staying in place on its own and the aneurysm was very likely to return.
The introduction of flexible intracranial stents has provided an answer to retaining stents within the aneurysm, thereby preventing recurrence. This provides minimally invasive option for repairing of cerebral aneurysms. Furthermore, the procedure has been found to be very effective in 90% of the cases, resulting in complete closure of the aneurysm without compromising the parent vessel at least six months after the procedure.
"Our results are encouraging because they demonstrate that devices like the intracranial stent will continue to not only improve our ability to treat challenging wide-necked aneurysms without opening the skull but also to have a significant impact on re-treatment rates" said Lopes, one of the experts in the field.