What Is a Brain Aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm is a condition wherein a bulge develops in a brain artery. Small aneurysms may pose little health risks, considering that they don’t rupture. Some aneurysms may sometimes go undetected and show no symptoms. But there are other considerably large brain aneurysms that may affect and put some pressure on the surrounding brain tissue. A ruptured brain aneurysm can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Causes of brain aneurysms

Most brain aneurysms develop as a result of aging. Some arteries go through considerable wear and tear that sometimes can lead to a developing aneurysm. There are also rare cases where a blow in the head can cause an aneurysm to develop. Certain infections may cause an artery to weaken and lead to an aneurysm developing in the weakened area.

Symptoms of brain aneurysms

Most small and unruptured brain aneurysms usually present no significant symptoms that can be identified. What symptoms they present would be due to the large aneurysms exerting some pressure on the surrounding brain tissue. This pressure may cause symptoms such as pain above and behind the eye, dilated pupils, vision problems and numbness and paralysis on one side of the face.

For a ruptured brain aneurysm which would require immediate medical treatment, symptoms include a sudden and extremely severe headache. Some may experience nausea and vomiting as well as stiff neck. Double vision c an also be experienced along with loss of consciousness.

How brain aneurysms is diagnosed?

The only means to detect a brain aneurysm is through a brain screening scan that can show a doctors a developing brain aneurysm. The most common methods used are computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

For some cases where an aneurysm may not be detected through the scans but with the patient showing symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm, a spinal tap may be recommended to determine signs of brain hemorrhage by analyzing a small amount of spinal fluid.

How brain aneurysms is treated?

Treatment for an unruptured brain aneurysm would depend on its location, its size the patient’s age as well as the patient’s health condition. It is the unusually large unruptured brain aneurysms that may pose an increased risk and may require treatment. For unruptured brain aneurysms, microvascular clipping and endovascular embolization are two available options for treatment.

Microvascular clipping involves the use of a tiny metal clip attached to the aneurysm to hamper blood flow and prevent it from rupturing. The endovascular embolization method requires the insertion of a tiny catheter in the artery where soft titanium wire can be guided and pushed inside the aneurysm, blocking the blood flow in the aneurysm and causing the blood to clot inside it.