Radial approach: The future of endovascular surgery

Endovascular neurosurgeons are discovering radial access as a better way to treat aneurysm and stroke.

Cardiologists have used the radial approach for years. Now, endovascular neurosurgeons are discovering this approach as a better way to treat aneurysm and stroke. It’s more complex, but the benefits are worth it.

Using the radial artery, rather than the femoral artery, means most patients recover faster and the procedure is significantly more comfortable. There’s also less pain during recovery and usually no scarring.

Patients love it because they can get up and move around right after the procedure. With the traditional femoral artery approach, the patient must remain on their back for several hours after treatment.

As one of only a handful of physicians in the country accessing the brain through the radial artery, I’ve gotten a firsthand look at the benefits of this approach.

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Tina Terrell is a great example. A massage therapist from Paducah, Kentucky, Tina needed a stent to eliminate a brain aneurysm. Typically, placing the stent would require invasive brain surgery. We were able to use the radial approach to place the stent. Tina went home the day after the procedure and was back at work several days after that.

Unless patients have had previous surgery on the arm or radial artery, or simply are too anxious to hold still, using the radial approach is an option.

I use the radial approach for strokes and aneurysms. Given advances in the technology and new techniques, I’m doing the radial approach in over 90% of patients.

This really is the future of treatment.

Mahan Ghiassi, M.D., is an endovascular neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute.

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