An aneurysm clip is a small, metallic device used to treat an aneurysm, a bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery that can rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding. An aneurysm clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm to stop blood flow into it, which prevents further growth or rupture.
In this article, we will take a closer look at aneurysm clips, including their types, benefits, and risks, and how they work to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing. We will also discuss the procedure involved in placing an aneurysm clip and recovery, among other related topics.
Types of Aneurysm Clips
There are several types of aneurysm clips, and they can be classified based on their shape, material, and size. The most commonly used types of aneurysm clips include straight clips, curved clips, and fenestrated clips.
Straight clips are the simplest type of aneurysm clip and are used in cases where the neck of the aneurysm is narrow and well-defined. Straight clips come in various sizes and are made of titanium or stainless steel.
Curved clips are used when the neck of the aneurysm is wider or when there is a need to adjust the clip’s position to achieve full closure. Curved clips have a bend in their shaft, which allows them to conform to the shape of the aneurysm neck.
Fenestrated clips are used in complex aneurysm cases where multiple vessels feed into the aneurysm. Fenestrated clips have a unique design that enables them to clip multiple vessels simultaneously while still maintaining the aneurysm’s neck closure.
Benefits and Risks of Aneurysm Clipping
Aneurysm clipping can prevent rupture, which is a life-threatening event that can cause a stroke or even death. Aneurysm clipping is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed without the need for open surgery, and patients can usually return to their normal activities within a few weeks, with appropriate recovery.
The risks associated with aneurysm clipping include infection, bleeding, brain swelling, and temporary or permanent neurological deficits. The risk of complications is highest within the first two weeks after surgery. However, significant long-term complications are rare.
How Aneurysm Clipping Works
Aneurysm clipping works by stopping blood flow into the aneurysm. The clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm, which prevents blood from entering the aneurysm sack. The reduction in blood flow causes the aneurysm to shrink and prevent rupturing.
The Procedure for Placing an Aneurysm Clip
Before the procedure, the patient will undergo general anesthesia, and their head will be fixed in a stationary position to prevent movement during the surgery. A small incision is made in the scalp, and a small window is made in the skull to expose the aneurysm. The surgeon then places the clip at the base of the aneurysm neck, stopping the blood flow into the aneurysm. Finally, the bone flap is replaced, and the scalp is closed.
Recovery and Aftercare
After aneurysm clipping, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for a few days for observation. They may experience headaches, nausea, or drowsiness in the following days, which is normal after any surgical procedure. Heavy lifting and other strenuous activities should be avoided for several weeks. Patients should follow up with their surgeon for postoperative appointments, including imaging scans to ensure that the aneurysm clip is still properly positioned.
- What is an aneurysm? An aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery that can rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding.
- What is an aneurysm clip? An aneurysm clip is a small, metallic device used to treat an aneurysm, which prevents further growth or rupture.
- What are the benefits of aneurysm clipping? Aneurysm clipping can prevent rupture, which is a life-threatening event that can cause a stroke or even death.
- What are the risks associated with aneurysm clipping? The risks associated with aneurysm clipping include infection, bleeding, brain swelling, and temporary or permanent neurological deficits.
- What is the procedure for placing an aneurysm clip? The surgeon places the clip at the base of the aneurysm neck, stopping the blood flow into the aneurysm.
- How long is the recovery period after aneurysm clipping? Patients can usually return to their normal activities within a few weeks, with appropriate recovery.
Aneurysm clipping is a minimally invasive procedure that has proven to be effective in preventing the rupture of aneurysms. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, and patients should be aware of them before undergoing the surgery. However, with appropriate care and follow-up, the risk of complications can be minimized, and patients can recover and return to their normal activities.
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2. Laidlaw JD, Siu KH, Smith FW. Early and period outcomes of endovascular and surgical treatments of unruptured intracranial aneurysms: a meta-analysis. J Neurosurg. 2011 Nov;115(5):868-76.