December 29, 2011

New Device Seals off Wide Neck Brain Aneurysms

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Before now, the only way to treat a wide-neck aneurysm was to undergo brain surgery. A novel device approved by the FDA made it possible to close wide-neck aneurysms that press against the optic nerve in the eye without risks, pain and longer recovery of major surgery.

Aneurysms, weak areas of arteries that balloon out, can have catastrophic brain-damaging and life-threatening consequences if they burst. With very small aneurysms, the risks of intervention may be greater than the chances of rupture; therefore, these may be monitored over time. For most aneurysms that pose a threat, two main treatment options exist: In an open-brain operation, surgeons may place a metal clip at the neck of the aneurysm to close it, or surgeons or neurointerventionalists may use the minimally invasive route to fill the aneurysm with platinum coils.

"Large and wide-neck aneurysms have presented a special challenge because the base of the ℠balloon´ is very broad. The coils would just pop back out of the aneurysm and potentially block the artery," Alexander, professor and clinical chief of the Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Neurovascular Center at Cedars-Sinai, was quoted as saying. "In recent years, we´ve used stents — called vascular remodeling devices — to keep coils in the aneurysm and out of the artery, but the Pipeline device virtually eliminates the need for coiling in some cases and may be an option in instances where coiling has failed."

The tube-like Pipeline stent is placed in the artery to cover the aneurysm, maintain blood flow through the artery and provide a mesh scaffold for blood vessel cells to grow and form a permanent, stable seal.

"With the Pipeline, we have already seen cases where the aneurysm not only is effectively treated, but the aneurysm may actually shrink away, taking pressure off the surrounding nerves and brain," Alexander noted.

"Dr. Alexander said, ℠I do open-brain surgery and I do coiling, but my first choice is the less-invasive treatment. We can go in, fix what we can with coiling or stents, and we can always step up to open-brain surgery if we need to.

SOURCE: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Press Release, December 2011