Object: The goal of this study was to delineate the angioanatomical features that determine whether a patient with an unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm is treated using endovascular coil placement or surgical clipping.
Methods: Thirty consecutive patients harboring 34 unruptured MCA aneurysms were evaluated. Patients with unruptured aneurysms are managed prospectively according to the following protocol: the primary treatment recommendation is endovascular packing with Guglielmi detachable coils (GDCs). Surgical clipping is recommended after failed attempts at coil placement or in the presence of angioanatomical features that contraindicate that type of endovascular therapy. Of 34 unruptured MCA aneurysms, two (6%) were successfully embolized and 32 (94%) were clipped. Of these 32 surgically treated aneurysms, in 11 (34%) an attempt at GDC embolization had failed, whereas in 21 (66%) primary clipping was performed because of unfavorable angioanatomy. Of the 13 aneurysms treated endovascularly, two (15%) were successfully excluded, whereas GDC treatment failed in 11 (85%). An unfavorable dome/neck ratio (< 2) and an arterial branch originating at the aneurysm base were the reasons for embolization failure.
Conclusions: Careful evaluation of the angioanatomy of unruptured aneurysms allows selection of the most appropriate treatment. However, for unruptured MCA aneurysms, surgical clipping appears to be the most efficient treatment option. Series of unruptured aneurysms are ideal for comparing treatment results.