A brain aneurysm is a weak, ballooning area in a blood vessel in the brain. The standard treatments for brain aneurysm are clipping and coiling. Rarely, an aneurysm cannot be treated with either of these common methods; in such cases, our doctors may perform a bypass.
Aneurysms form on blood vessels called arteries, which transport oxygen-rich blood under high pressure. The constant pressure of blood on arterial walls over time can cause a weaker area of the artery wall to bulge out. Eventually, the aneurysm may burst, releasing blood into the brain. It is estimated that about 20 to 50 percent of aneurysms burst.
The most common kind of aneurysm is a saccular aneurysm. This type, shaped like a small sac, is the type most likely to rupture and bleed.
A less common type is a fusiform aneurysm. In this type, the artery wall does not protrude in just one location. Instead it is swollen all the way around, like an inflating long balloon. Fusiform aneurysms usually cause no symptoms and are much less likely to rupture and bleed. They are sometimes found incidentally.
Brain aneurysms are very rare in children, but they do occur. For information specific to aneurysms in children, see our pediatric aneurysm page.
Columbia Neurosurgery Medical Minute: Brain Aneurysm
In the below video, Dr. Robert Solomon shares his expertise on the assessment and treatment of brain aneurysms.
Dr. Robert Solomon has been treating patients with brain aneurysms for a very long time, and he has seen it all. Some of the most challenging to treat, he says, are the amorphous or "giant" aneurysms of the basilar artery.Read full article
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