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What is Coil Embolization?
The coil embolization procedure describes a minimally invasive surgical treatment for brain aneurysms and vascular malformations. By inserting a catheter through the groin, tiny coils are guided to the brain and detached from the catheter to obstruct blood flow to the aneurysm or malformation. One or more platinum coils are left in place to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. A reduction in blood flow to the brain may lead to visual impairment.
Neuro-radiologists or neurosurgeons typically perform this procedure in a hospital setting, with the surgeon making a small incision in the groin to enter the femoral artery. The surgeon uses dye to make the aneurysm visible in computer images and then threads the catheter through the artery. Once the catheter is near the aneurysm, the surgeon releases the coil embolization from the catheter. The body produces a clot around the coils, preventing blood from flowing.
During coil embolization, the femoral artery is touched as it passes through the groin
An aneurysm represents a bulge or sack in the arterial wall of a weakened patient. The protrusion can put pressure on tissue and nerves in the brain, leading to paralysis, or it may rupture, causing a stroke or death. Coil embolization can be used as a preventive measure before or after an aneurysm ruptures.
Neck pain during the use of coil embolization can be a sign of an aneurysm. Symptoms of an aneurysm include headache, nausea or vomiting, upper back and neck pain. When these symptoms are present, doctors usually perform imaging studies to determine if an aneurysm is present. When patients cannot undergo brain surgery to prevent rupture, coil embolization is often recommended.
An arteriovenous malformation represents a bulge or bubble in the arterial wall of a weakened patient. The malformation defines a reduction in the delivery of rich oxygen blood to the brain. These abnormal gaps often lead to pressure on the eyes, which is a major symptom of glaucoma. Some malformations can cause double vision, pain, and abnormal sounds in the ears, such as buzzing.
When an aneurysm is too large or positioned in a way that prevents coil embolization, balloon occlusion may be another choice. The surgery uses an inflated balloon to restrict blood flow. The process is similar to coil embolization of the femoral artery. The risk of this surgery is considered low, but stroke, weakness in the patient's legs or arms, and language and vision problems may occur during the coil embolization.
Coil embolization for the treatment of brain aneurysms
Neurosurgeons can use brain imaging to locate vascular malformations and aneurysms within the brain. Patients remain lying down for 8 hours or longer after placement to allow the femoral artery to heal. They usually go home one or two days later. Several months later, vascular imaging may be performed to determine if the coil embolization is still in place. Neurosurgeons typically use coil embolization to treat brain aneurysms.