About 1-2% of the U.S. population likely has a brain aneurysm. But only about 30,000 of these aneurysms are likely to rupture in a given year. Our advanced neurology and neurosurgery team provides leading brain aneurysm treatment to people in Kansas City and beyond. We offer comprehensive and interdisciplinary treatment strategies for people who have been diagnosed with or suffered the effects of vascular disorders including aneurysm and strokes.
About brain aneurysms
A brain aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of an artery that delivers blood to the brain. Though often harmless, these weak areas can bulge and burst, resulting in dangerous or even fatal ruptures that release blood into the skull.
Symptoms and risks
Most brain aneurysms have no symptoms. Unruptured brain aneurysms may occasionally cause headaches, visual disturbances or speech issues. Ruptured brain aneurysms are an emergency and may be indicated by:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
Risk factors include family history of aneurysm, previous occurrence of aneurysm, high blood pressure and tobacco use. Gender and race are also risk factors, with women more likely than men to experience an aneurysm and African Americans more likely than Caucasians.
Diagnosis and treatment
With most aneurysms exhibiting no symptoms, unruptured aneurysms are sometimes found during imaging tests for unrelated conditions. These tests may include:
- Computed tomography scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging
A number of brain aneurysm treatment options may be considered, including:
- Observation. It is often safest to monitor a small aneurysm until the risk of rupture warrants the risk of intervention.
- Microsurgical treatment. In a surgical procedure often used to treat aneurysm, your doctor places a metal clip to close the aneurysm or to remove a vascular abnormality. When the clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm, it reduces the pressure of the blood flow.
- Endovascular treatment. In an endovascular procedure, your doctor will introduce a thin tube through an artery in your groin and guide it up to the aneurysm. The tube is then used to thread 1 or more small coils of wire to the aneurysm to close it.
- Radiosurgery. This is a form of radiation therapy that can be used to treat arteriovenous malformations.
Debbie Green: I feel fantastic. I feel like I've been healed.
Narrator: That's today, but just 24 hours ago, Debbie Green had an aneurysm in her brain. Previous attempts to treat it had failed.
Debbie: I've already been through the coiling and it didn't work. Then I was scheduled for the PulseRider and it didn't fit, so I'm praying that this is the right fit. Narrator: Here at The University of Kansas Hospital specialists believe an FDA approved treatment called, the WEB is considered the most advanced and safest solutions for aneurysms.
Dr. Koji Ebersole: This is the aneurysm right here. It's about a medium sized aneurysm, so this is greatly magnified. In real life this thing is about the size of an eraser head.
Debbie: The aneurysm is in a place that if it ruptures, then I wouldn't be able to speak and I wouldn't be able to use my right side, so that worries me a lot because God knows I need to speak.
Dr. Alan Reeves: The WEB device represents a very unique opportunity for us to treat aneurysms basically in a single shot.
Dr. Koji Ebersole: It's kind of like a woven basket, so that if you get it sized just right it will fit inside the aneurysm with a single device. That's different than coils. A coil to treat a similar aneurysm often times requires more than the coils itself, for example, a stent, which requires you to be on blood thinners. This is a single device that goes inside of an aneurysm, and when you detach it, it remains inside the aneurysm, and in successful cases leads to a closure of the aneurysm, so a minimally invasive cure for brain aneurysms.
Dr. Koji Ebersole: How are you good?
Narrator: Debbie is just happy to have her peace of mind back.
Debbie: I was willing to go through it, and hopefully it do what it's supposed to do, and it did. I had it done a little over 24 hours ago and I'm going home.
Why choose us
- For the 8th consecutive year, our neurology and neurosurgery programs ranked among U.S. News & World Report's top 50 providers.
- Our leading care team is experienced in providing a complete range of treatment options, ensuring you receive the best care for your unique condition. Specialists from multiple disciplines meet regularly to review complex cases, collaborating to plan the most successful treatment for each patient.
- As part of one of the nation's premier academic medical centers, our care providers are committed to research and scientific discovery. We can often include our patients in potentially lifesaving clinical trials and treatment options not available anywhere else.
- We treat the complete person. In addition to providing world-class care, we offer a brain aneurysm support group to help patients and their families better understand brain aneurysm and its physical and emotional effects.
We have created a unique opportunity to take a multidisciplinary approach with patients with any kind of brain vascular problem. We have radiologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons who specialize. We’re the only center in the region with all 3 specialties. We consult and collaborate to verify the best treatment for each patient. – Alan Reeves, MDInterventional neuroradiologist
Superior brain aneurysm treatment
At the health system, you'll receive superior brain aneurysm treatment, including access to leading research and clinical trials. Expect your care team to use the latest innovations when appropriate to your care. Our specialists have consistently been among some of the first to incorporate new advancements into their daily practices, such as the Pipeline™Flex embolization device and Surpass® flow diverter, to support high-risk brain aneurysm treatment.
The latest innovation available at The University of Kansas Health System – and nowhere else in the region – is the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) device. The newly FDA-approved device is placed inside the aneurysm during a minimally invasive surgery. According to endovascular neurosurgeon Koji Ebersole, MD, "It is the only FDA-approved, standalone, minimally invasive device for a number of complex, hard-to-treat aneurysms. We think it's a very important advance."
In appropriate cases, the WEB device provides several advantages as compared to traditional coils. Coils often require the addition of a stent. The stent, in turn, requires a patient to take blood thinning medications. A coiling procedure often requires 5-8 coil devices to fully close the aneurysm. The WEB device is a single, standalone device that may cure an aneurysm in one procedure.
The device offers a unique combination of functions. First, it fits inside the aneurysm to prevent blood from entering the aneurysm. Second, it redirects blood flow away from the aneurysm. This combination decreases the length of the surgery, decreases the amount of time patients are exposed to radiation and anesthesia, and decreases the risk for complications.
"We are very happy to be able to offer our patients the full complement of available treatments," Dr. Ebersole adds.
Our brain aneurysm experts provide complete aneurysm care from prevention to treatment and beyond. One of the ways we demonstrate our belief in comprehensive care for patients and families is through our brain aneurysm support group. We bring together physicians, psychologists, nurses and other support personnel to address your needs after aneurysm. We welcome your questions and concerns.
Expert team provides advanced care
A carotid artery aneurysm threatened Rebecca’s life. A multidisciplinary team took action. Advanced neurosciences and vascular care put a stop to the risk and returned her safely to her beloved books and garden.
Leading research and clinical trials
Learn more about our leaders in brain aneurysm treatment and research.