New device is big advancement in brain aneurysm treatment

There is a new treatment for brain aneurysms, and Norton Neuroscience Institute is one of the first two centers in Kentucky to offer it.

Norton Neuroscience Institute is offering a new treatment for brain aneurysms. According to Tom Yao, M.D., neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute, the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration recently. Norton Neuroscience Institute is one of the first two centers in Kentucky to offer the procedure.

“The WEB device potentially represents one of the next big shifts in aneurysm treatment,” Dr. Yao said. “It will be an excellent tool to complement the treatment options we have available now. We have four endovascular neurosurgeons who will be able to implant these devices to offer a full complement of treatment options, including Shervin Dashti, M.D., Ph.D.Mahan Ghiassi, M.D.; and myself.” 

How the WEB device works to treat brain aneurysms

A brain aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that bulges or balloons out from the normal vessel wall. Because the wall integrity is compromised, the weakened wall can burst, causing a brain bleed. According to Dr. Yao, the goal of aneurysm treatment is to prevent blood from getting to the weak part of the aneurysm.

The WEB device is a sphere of woven wires that is inserted into an artery in the groin, then threaded up into the aneurysm. It forms to the shape of the aneurysm and holds in place so that it can prevent blood flow into the aneurysm and allow healing of the vessel wall.

Dr. Yao said the WEB device combines methods of two other aneurysm treatments — coiling and flow-diverting stents.

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“Coiling an aneurysm involves placing little wires inside the aneurysm to prevent blood from going in,” Dr. Yao said. “A flow-diverting stent allows us to direct blood flow out of the aneurysm. The new WEB device makes use of both of these methods.”

The WEB device is designed to custom-fit the aneurysm, eliminating the need to insert coil after coil until it is filled. It works similar to a flow-diverting stent by preventing blood flow into the aneurysm.

Advantages of the WEB device to treat brain aneurysms

According to Dr. Yao, the new WEB device provides several advantages for treating brain aneurysms:

  • It’s easier to place because the WEB device is designed to fit the aneurysm.
  • It simplifies treatment by decreasing the length of surgery.
  • It’s safer because patients don’t have to be placed on as many blood thinners.
  • It decreases the patient’s stroke risk because nothing is placed inside the main artery where the aneurysm is located.

Brain aneurysm signs and symptoms

Brain aneurysms are typically found in two ways, according to Dr. Yao:

  • After the aneurysm has ruptured and the patient is in the emergency room with the worst headache of his or her, or the patient is in a coma, has lost consciousness or has suffered a stroke
  • When a patient has a scan because of a neurologic issue that is unrelated to the aneurysm such as headache, numbness or tingling, or the patient is screened because he or she is at high risk for aneurysm due to family history or diseases such as polycystic kidney disease

Although the WEB device may not be right for all patients, Dr. Yao is encouraged to have a new option for brain aneurysm treatment.

“There are multiple procedures we can use to treat brain aneurysms, and this is a new option that has shown good results,” said Dr. Yao. “Norton Neuroscience Institute continues to be on the cutting edge of offering new treatments when they become available.”

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