Posted at: 07/03/2012 11:40 AM
Updated at: 07/03/2012 5:47 PM
By: Kenny King
Medical Edge: Brain Aneurysm
(ABC 6 NEWS) - Untreated aneurysms, or ballooning of blood vessels, can grow and possibly rupture, causing brain damage or even death.
If an aneurysm ruptured, blood would pool in the brain causing a hemorrhagic stroke. That stroke would result in brain damage, or even death.
Aneurysms used to mean major surgery, but now there are less invasive options for many people. It's called a Flow Diverter, and it works by redirecting the blood flow away from the aneurysm.
"What we are doing is putting nothing else than a screen to change or redirect the flow away from the aneurysm,” said Dr. Ricardo Hanel, Mayo Clinic Neurosurgeon.
During the procedure, Dr. Hanel inserts a catheter and runs it up to the site of the aneurysm. He deploys the diverter device, which redirects blood flow. Over the next few months, the entrance to the aneurysm becomes clotted and closed off, creating a new vessel wall.
"We are just at the beginning of experience with this device -- but I expect to see over five, ten years that these aneurysms that were closed at six months, they'll remain closed for the rest of the life and they will never come back."
The Flow Diverter device is FDA approved for aneurysms 10 millimeters or larger.
Dr. Hanel suspects that soon, it will be approved for smaller ones as well.