Device helps doctors operate on aneurysms

January 14, 2011 2:56:05 PM PST
A new device is allowing doctors to get at difficult brain aneurysms without having to open up the skull.

An aneurysm in the brain means a weakness in a blood vessel has caused a balloon like bubble to form. If it ruptures, there's a chance it may be fatal.

Shoring up the weakened vessel with a metal stent can help prevent an emergency. Doctors have been doing this with a minimally invasive approach. A catheter is snaked up a leg artery, navigated to the brain, and then a metal stent is placed in the weakened area.

In the past not every aneurysm was accessible this way. Now a newer kind of delivery system called the Neuroform EZ is helping surgeons get to those difficult areas, smaller vessels, deeper in the brain.

Rush University Medical Center is using this system. Neurosurgeon Demetrius Lopes says it will help make this minimally invasive treatment an option for more patients.

"It seems like every two years we see a tremendous new advancement which makes us very excited about where we are heading with this," Lopes said. "Patients go home with 24 hours of the hospital, and these are things you could not talk about a few years ago...Come into the hospital, repair your brain aneurysm, and go home within 24 hours. It is very exciting to be part of that."

Along with a shorter hospital stay, the hospital says other benefits include minimal blood loss and the option of local anesthesia.