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What is aneurysm coiling?

Dr. Geoffrey P. Colby, MD
Neurosurgery
Coiling is a minimally-invasive endovascular technique to treat an aneurysm. A small catheter, called a micro-catheter, is passed inside the blood vessels of the body and into the aneurysm. Once inside the aneurysm, very small platinum wires called coils are threaded into the body of the aneurysm, referred to as the "aneurysm dome." The coils often form a ball-like structure, called a “coil pack.” It is up to the doctor doing the procedure to select the type and size of the coils used as well as to carefully position the coils in the aneurysm. Once in the aneurysm, the coils interact with the blood and form a blood clot. It is the combination of the coils plus the blood clot within the aneurysm that prevents blood flow into the aneurysm and prevents the thin, weakened wall of the aneurysm from rupturing. The goal of the treatment is to have the coils stay in the aneurysm and not migrate into the normal vessel that the aneurysm arises from, called the "parent vessel." In some circumstances, particularly for aneurysms with a wide-neck (opening), a stent or balloon is used to help hold the coils in the aneurysm and prevent them from falling into the normal blood vessel. Coiling technology is constantly evolving, with new classes of coils and new catheter delivery systems. Many aneurysms, but not all aneurysms, can be treated by coiling, You should discuss with your doctor whether coiling is an appropriate treatment for your aneurysm.
If a cerebral aneurysm caused a first hemorrhage, a second one may be prevented with an interarterial procedure known as neuroendovascular surgery, or coiling. The surgeon inserts a catheter through the arm or groin into a large artery and works it through the aorta up to the site of the aneurysm in the brain. Then the doctor releases a tiny coiled ball inside the aneurysm. The coil makes the blood in the aneurysm clot. Once this happens, the aneurysm is no longer dangerous. This procedure is performed without opening the skull, and may be done during a cerebral angiography, which is used to diagnose the aneurysm.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.