Although aneurysms can occur in nearly any blood vessel in nearly any part of the body, the brain aneurysm is one of the most common, and the most dangerous. After a brain aneurysm is diagnosed and treated, extensive recovery time and treatment are often needed.
What Is a Brain Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is the weakening of a blood vessel's wall, causing the ballooning and eventual bursting of the blood vessel. This can occur in nearly any blood vessel in the body, but a brain aneurysm is particularly dangerous because excess blood and other fluid in the brain cavity can cause brain damage. Once a brain aneurysm has developed, no one can predict when it will burst. Symptoms include intense abnormal headaches, changes in vision or numbness on one side of your body.
The most effective brain aneurysm treatment is called clipping, where the aneurysm is carefully separated from the rest of the blood vessel. Another technique is called coiling and involves using tiny platinum coils to block blood flow to the aneurysm. Then an electrical current is sent through the coils, destroying the aneurysm.
If the aneurysm had already ruptured, brain shunts and catheters will be used to remove the leaking blood or fluid from the brain cavity and prevent neurological damage. There are some cases where medical complications make surgery more harmful than helpful, such as coma or a particularly elderly patient. In those cases, your health care provider will likely choose to monitor the aneurysm until better conditions are reached.
After surgery, an aneurysm patient is sent to intensive care for at least a few days. There you monitored for brain bleeds and other complications. The brain is a very complicated and important organ. Any surgical procedures can lead to loss of function or neurological damage. The actual amount of time you will stay in intensive care and later the neurological floor will be determined by how big the aneurysm was, its location and any neurological complications you experienced. A hospital stay of up to four weeks is not uncommon for a brain aneurysm patient.
While you recuperate from your brain aneurysm in the hospital, you will be continually evaluated. As a rule, the same tests that your health care provider used to diagnose your brain aneurysm will be used to chart the difference after treatment. A CAT scan or MRI scan is often done to determine if any bleeding or swelling has occurred as result of the surgery. Both provide three-dimensional images of your brain and can allow your health care provider to exam the aneurysm site noninvasively.
Many brain aneurysms can result in some lost of speech, eyesight or movement function. Most patients who suffer from these problems will require some sort of physical or occupational rehabilitation. Rehabilitation can occur on an outpatient basis once your health care provider is sure that you are not suffering from any side effects from treatment. A physical therapist will help you develop endurance, strength and extension ability that you may have lost being hospitalised for such a long time. An occupational therapist will help you work on tackling everyday activities like walking up and down stairs, driving and other tasks. The length and frequency of your rehabilitation therapy will depend on how severe your condition is.