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What are brain aneurysms?
Brain aneurysms are pouches or balloons of blood within the arteries of your brain. They develop when the wall of an artery weakens, so the blood expands the artery to form a balloon. The affected vessel could leak or rupture, causing a potentially life-threatening bleed on your brain.
Although some brain aneurysms can be dangerous, this isn't always the case. You might have a brain aneurysm for a while without even realizing it until you undergo a scan for symptoms such as chronic headaches.
What symptoms might brain aneurysms cause?
The symptoms of brain aneurysms vary depending on the condition of the weakened blood vessel.
An unruptured aneurysm might cause no symptoms at all, or you could experience problems like altered vision or eye pain if the aneurysm presses on a nerve. If brain aneurysms start to leak, they can cause severe headaches that often worsen over time. A rupture often happens once an aneurysm begins leaking.
A ruptured brain aneurysm causes what people often describe as the worst ever headache. In addition to severe head pain, ruptured brain aneurysms can cause nausea and vomiting, and you may lose consciousness.
If you experience symptoms of a leaking or ruptured brain aneurysm, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.
What treatments are available for brain aneurysms?
The treatment provided at Ventura Neuroscience Center for brain aneurysms depends on the stage your aneurysm has reached. Ruptured or leaking brain aneurysms might require emergency surgery to prevent escaping blood from causing pressure to build up in your skull.
Ventura Neuroscience Center uses aneurysm coiling, a minimally invasive technique that cuts off blood flow to the affected artery. Aneurysm coiling is an endovascular procedure, which means that instead of making an incision in your head to access the blood vessel directly, your provider uses a catheterization technique.
They pass a slim, flexible tube (catheter) into an artery in your groin and feed it along the blood vessel until it reaches the aneurysm. When the catheter is in position, your provider releases platinum coils that cause the blood to clot.
An alternative to aneurysm coiling is traditional aneurysm clipping, where your provider clips or cuts off the blood supply to the aneurysm. Interventional neurosurgery is sometimes possible to stop brain aneurysms from reaching the point where they leak or rupture.