Having a brain aneurysm has been compared to a ticking time bomb inside your head. Half the people who experience a ruptured aneurysm die before getting to the hospital.
“An aneurysm is a weak spot and out pouching on a blood vessel. Think of a balloon- as blood expands, the skin of the balloon thins so when that happens to a blood vessel, as the skin thins it can rupture,” says Dr. Gary Correnti, neurosurgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
About one in 50 Americans has a brain aneurysm and don’t know it; for most it will never present a problem.
“Nowadays we have a way to screen for those aneurisms and that’s with an MRA or Magnetic Resonance Angiogram or MRI that looks specifically at the blood vessels so that’s one way we can screen and sometimes find them before they rupture,” says Dr. Correnti.
If a brain aneurysm needs treatment, either to prevent it from rupturing or to stop a brain bleed, surgeons are now able to do it without major surgery.
“In the old days, we used to do surgery or a craniotomy. Where we take off the skull, lift the brain and literally put a clip at the base of the aneurism where the blood gets in,” says Dr. Correnti.
“But the newer innovation involves putting coils in the aneurysm and that's performed through a serious of catheters that are accessed through the groin artery and then navigated into the aneurysm,” says Dr. Greg Velat, neurosurgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.
Called endovascular coiling, it’s performed inside the artery.
“The coils are then deployed and that allows the aneurysm to clot off from the inside,” says Dr. Velat.
Most aneurysms rupture without warning. But less invasive techniques to both treat or prevent a brain bleed, may give patients peace of mind.
View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.