A brain aneurysm is a ballooning or bulge that occurs in a blood vessel within the brain. Many aneurysms look like berries hanging on stems. Aneurysms can exist without symptoms, but getting screened for them can be life-saving. If a brain aneurysm ruptures or leaks, there will be bleeding in the patient's brain. Ruptured aneurysms most commonly occur in the area between the tissues covering the brain and the brain itself. This is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
A ruptured aneurysm is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. With that said, the majority of aneurysms don't rupture. These don't tend to cause symptoms, and they're often found when a patient is screened for another condition. Some brain aneurysms can be treated before they rupture.
Endovascular coiling is a type of minimally invasive procedure that doesn't require any incision to be made in the skull. The goal is to block the flow of blood into an aneurysm. Endovascular coiling procedures have been successfully completed since 1991. During the procedure, a catheter will be passed through the patient's groin and into the artery that contains the aneurysm. When the catheter is in position, coils of platinum are released, causing the aneurysm to clot, which prevents further blood from entering it.
After the surgery, patients typically spend one night in the hospital to recover and make sure the surgery didn't have any complications. They can then return home and usually return to their normal activity level within about two days. Coiling procedures are usually used for brain aneurysms that haven't yet ruptured. There are some cases where coiling can be used to treat a ruptured brain aneurysm, but this is typically only when the patients cannot have invasive surgery or are older.