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What Is an Aneurysm?

An aneurysm is an enlarged artery from a weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel in your brain, causing blood to pool and the area to bulge. If the bulge ruptures, the enlarged artery becomes a serious health concern that, if left untreated, can lead to irreversible brain damage and even death.

The brain is one of the three common areas in the body where an aneurysm can develop; the other two are the heart and the abdomen. When a brain aneurysm ruptures, you may experience a hemorrhage, which is a medical emergency. The medical team at Premier Brain & Spine is made up of New Jersey’s top specialists and leaders in managing and treating brain aneurysms.

What Are the Symptoms of an Aneurysm?

It’s possible to have an aneurysm and remain asymptomatic. Unruptured aneurysms don’t generally cause symptoms unless they rupture. Small brain aneurysms don’t always warrant treatment, but once they’re discovered, your doctor monitors it closely at the spine and neuro center. Prior to rupturing, an aneurysm may cause symptoms such as:

  • Non-chronic headaches
  • Vision disturbance
  • Eye pain

Following a ruptured brain aneurysm, you likely experience symptoms that include:

  • Sudden onset of a severe headache, possibly the worst headache of your life
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dilated pupils
  • Stiff neck
  • Loss of control of your eyes, nose, tongue or ears
  • Disrupted mental state, appearing as drowsiness, dizziness or confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back or leg pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Uncontrollable arm or leg movement
  • Loss of consciousness

Who’s at Risk of Getting an Aneurysm?

If you have any of the risk factors for developing an aneurysm, get regular checkups and undergo consistent monitoring at your NJ spine and brain center. If not treated successfully in time, a brain aneurysm can be fatal.

There are some risk factors that can help determine if you’re at risk of developing aneurysms. Talk to a specialist at Premier Brain & Spine about regular visits if you have risk factors for aneurysm such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Illicit drug use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Cardiac disease
  • Head trauma
  • Infection
  • Aging over 40 years old
  • Gender, as women tend to be at a higher risk
  • Familial history of aneurysms
  • Blood vessel disorders

What Are Treatments for a Brain Aneurysm?

Brain aneurysms, ruptured or not, are detected through diagnostic exams, such as x-rays and ultrasounds. Based on your medical history and the size of the aneurysm, available treatments may include:

  • Coiling or clipping. Coiling involves filling the aneurysm sac with a tiny metal spiral device. Clipping is a permanent solution. When the clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm, it cuts off the blood flow.
  • Stent. The stent creates a diversion of the blood flow away from the aneurysm. This avoids the need to go inside the aneurysm, such as for coiling. This method reduces the risk of rupture by reducing the blood flow.
  • Bypass. Like the stent, it diverts the blood flow from the aneurysm. It also involves filling in the aneurysm with coiling.

Remember, not all aneurysms need treatment, and there are preventive measures you can implement, such as smoking cessation, eating a healthy diet and exercising. Contact the specialists at Brain & Spine in New Jersey and New York to determine the best course of treatment for your aneurysm or your high-risk status.

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 by Dr. David Wells-Roth (Neurosurgeon) of Premier Brain & Spine

Premier Brain & Spine
10 Parsonage Rd, Suite 208A
Edison, NJ 08837
(732) 258-0190