Endovascular Coiling

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Brain picture showing abnormal features

Brain Aneurysm Treatment

Differences between surgical clipping and endovascular coiling procedures

Treatment for a symptomatic aneurysm is to repair the blood vessels. Clipping and coiling are two treatment options.

  • Clipping: A neurosurgeon can operate on the brain by cutting open the skull, identifying the damaged blood vessel and putting a clip across the aneurysm. This prevents blood from entering the aneurysm and causing further growth or blood leakage.
  • Coiling: An interventional neurologist, neurosurgeon, or interventional radiologist can thread a tube through the arteries, as with an angiogram, identify the aneurysm, and fill it with coils of platinum wire or with latex. This prevents further blood from entering the aneurysm and resolves the problem.

What is a brain aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of an artery which leads to a balloon or pouch formation. The wall of the pouch is thinner than the rest of the artery wall and is at risk of breaking. This type of aneurysm is known as a berry aneurysm, or saccular aneurysm, based on the way it appears. If the aneurysm breaks, then there can be bleeding in the brain. Other types of aneurysms include lateral aneurysm, where a bulge appears along one wall of the artery, or fusiform aneurysm, when the entire artery is enlarged.

The specific cause why aneurysms form is unknown. Aneurysms can be hereditary (run in families), or occur due to an abnormality which occurred during gestation. Some diseases can lead to weakness in artery walls and formation of aneurysms; these include polycystic kidney disease, some of the connective tissue disorders, or vascular malformations. Trauma, high blood pressure, or drug use may also increase the risk of developing aneurysm. In rare cases, infection within the wall of the artery can cause an aneurysm to form.

What is endovascular coiling?

Endovascular coiling is a way to treat aneurysms without opening the skull or performing brain surgery. The coil refers to a thin wire which is bunched up (coiled) within the aneurysm. The coil prevents further blood flow into the aneurysm by causing a clot to form, while the rest of the artery remains open to transport blood to the brain. The wire is inserted through a catheter which is fed through the large arteries of the body and into the arteries of the brain. This procedure is done as an alternative to aneurysm clipping (surgically isolating the aneurysm by placing a clip at the base of the aneurysm to keep blood from entering), which requires brain surgery. to isolate the area of the aneurysm.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/9/2016

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