Cedars-Sinai neurosurgeon seals off wide-neck aneurysm with new device

May 17, 2017

The MRI showed two large aneurysms, one on each side of her head along the optic nerves, where coiling or open surgery may be risky because the procedures themselves can injure the nerves or put more pressure on them. When a follow-up CT scan came back, the first doctor Weiss consulted said, "The good news is I can do surgery. The bad news is you have five (aneurysms)." But open-brain surgery was the only option offered.

Alexander's approach was different, partly because after completing his neurosurgery residency he undertook one fellowship in cerebrovascular and skull base surgery and another in interventional neuroradiology, the use of sophisticated imaging systems and minimally invasive tools to treat brain conditions through blood vessel pathways. He had experience inserting the newly approved Pipeline device before Weiss came to him for help.

"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 notes.

Weiss says Alexander's experience and minimally invasive skills appealed to her.

"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.' That's the kind of doctor I want, someone who's a little conservative," comments Weiss, who says much of her peripheral vision has returned: 90 percent on one side and 50 percent on the other.

Her last brain scans looked good, too, but if she ever needs to have one of the other aneurysms repaired, this experience put her mind at ease.

"If I have to go back in, if one of them is getting bigger, no big deal. It's like two days out of my life. Big deal. No fear whatsoever," she says.

Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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