Is there a way to avoid open surgery once you've been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation? The good news is that the answer is "yes." Many patients are excellent candidates for a minimally invasive procedure called endovascular neurosurgery. Knowing that endovascular neurosurgery is an option may relieve some of the apprehension that you're experiencing over the idea of undergoing brain surgery.
The major benefit of endovascular neurosurgery is the elimination of the need for an incision in the skull. This generally makes healing significantly easier. We see excellent outcomes in our patients who opt for this method of arteriovenous malformation (AVM) brain surgery in Los Angeles. You naturally have many questions about the treatment options available to you if you're dealing with a medical condition or disease related to the brain or nervous system. It's important to know that recent innovations may mean that there's no need to undergo open surgery to correct an issue or protect your brain health.
What Is Endovascular Neurosurgery?
The most straightforward answer is that endovascular neurosurgery is a "closed" procedure where the surgeon does all the work inside your blood vessels. Small instruments are moved within threaded catheters within the blood vessels during a procedure. As a result, only a tiny incision is required. The surgeon relies on a range of radiology and imaging tools to guide movements during the procedure. A typical surgery will include the application of coils or a glue-like substance to mend arteries and veins that are compromised.
How Is Endovascular Neurosurgery Different From Traditional Brain Surgery?
The traditional surgical treatment for common brain conditions and diseases is something called an open craniotomy. During this procedure, a surgeon makes an opening in the skull. Endovascular neurosurgery does not require entry into the skull. Instead, the surgeon makes a small incision into the leg.
Is Endovascular Neurosurgery Better Than Open Brain Surgery?
Many people are drawn to endovascular neurosurgery because it is considered a minimally invasive alternative to traditional brain surgeries that treat the same issues. Patients typically enjoy shorter recovery times and far less pain following endovascular neurosurgery compared to more invasive options. There are physical and psychological benefits of avoiding open brain surgery for some patients.
What Are the Benefits of Endovascular Neurosurgery Over Open Surgery?
First, endovascular neurosurgery is simply a less dramatic experience for patients than open surgery. A tiny incision means that patients do not have to deal with a large scar during the recovery period. Patients also enjoy shorter recovery periods with less discomfort. We also know that this surgical option places less strain on the heart than a more invasive surgical procedure. Lastly, endovascular neurosurgery poses a reduced risk for patients with medical conditions or complications that prevent them from being good candidates for open surgery.
How Is Recovery Different?
It often takes several weeks for an incision to heal following open surgery. It's not uncommon for patients to feel a sharp pain in incision sites for weeks following surgery. Hearing loss, jaw pain, clicking noises, and seizures are some of the potential side effects of open surgery. There is much less concern regarding these side effects following endovascular neurosurgery. However, that doesn't mean that a patient won't experience some side effects during recovery.
What Conditions Does Endovascular Neurosurgery Treat?
Endovascular neurosurgery's focus is on conditions and diseases that impact the body's central nervous system. Primarily, surgeons recommend this procedure for certain conditions affecting the brain and spinal cord. Here's a look at the common conditions where endovascular neurosurgery may be an appropriate treatment:
- Brain aneurysm
- Stroke caused by a blood clot
- Blood-vessel malformation
- Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
- Dural arteriovenous malformation (DAVM)
Determining the proper treatment route must be done carefully in collaboration with your surgeon and team of care providers. However, the possibility of a minimally invasive procedure needs to be discussed when discussing treatment options with your surgeon. It may be time to get a second opinion for aneurysm or AVM surgery if the care provider you're working with does not offer an alternative to open surgery.
What Is the Course of Action When Brain Aneurysm Happens?
First, an evaluation that confirms the aneurysm will need to be performed. Endovascular neurosurgery is a potential treatment option that many patients have success with when seeking to avoid open surgery. During a minimally invasive procedure, a surgeon may use a variety of instruments like coils, stents, or liquid glue. A catheter is inserted into the body using a tiny hole located in the leg of the patient. The surgeon guides the catheter through the body's vascular system until it reaches the location of the aneurysm in the head. Accuracy is achieved through the use of radiology and imaging tools throughout the procedure.
Can AVM Be Cured?
Patients are curious to find out if AVM can be cured without surgery. Yes, it is possible to treat AVM without surgery in some cases. However, it's vital to remember that the goal of treatment is to prevent dangerous hemorrhages. Secondarily, a robust treatment outlook should also consider things like seizures or other neurological impairments impacting the quality of life or putting you in danger. Only by viewing the comprehensive picture of your health, medical history, the integrity of blood vessels, and personal objectives can a determination be made regarding the best treatment for AVM.
Surgery is ultimately the most common treatment for AVM. Surgery is recognized as an appealing therapy for AVM because patients enjoy a high cure rate with a low rate of complications. This is why it is considered a first-in-line treatment for the condition. Additionally, the immediacy of the results of AVM surgery adds to the benefits.
Is Endovascular Neurosurgery New?
The field of research that would evolve into what we know as modern endovascular neurosurgery today began back in 1926. Researchers initially injected an iodinated contrast medium into arteries using the X-ray tools available at the time. Doctors were using a balloon technique to close aneurysms by the end of the 1950s. Endovascular neurosurgery techniques became much safer with the introduction of coils during the 1980s and 1990s. The introduction of special stents and flow-diversion devices in the years that followed helped develop the precise, gentle procedure we use here at our endovascular neurosurgery office in Los Angeles.
Book a Consultation for Aneurysm or AVM brain surgery in Los Angeles.
If you're looking for a top surgeon who performs gentle AVM brain surgery in Los Angeles, CA, look no further than the Sierra Neuroscience Institute. Our surgeons have been ranked among the top in the nation. We're here to answer all of your questions about brain health, treatments, and surgeries. Reach out today for a consultation!