Neurosurgical management of intracranial aneurysms previously treated with endovascular therapy

Neurosurgery. 2003 Feb;52(2):283-93; discussion 293-5. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000043643.93767.86.


Objective: With the increased use of endovascular therapy, an increasing number of patients with incompletely treated intracranial aneurysms are presenting for further surgical management. This study reviews our experiences with such patients.

Methods: During a 7-year period, 38 patients with 40 intracranial aneurysms who were initially treated with endovascular therapy underwent surgical obliteration of refractory or recurrent lesions. All patients were recorded in a prospective registry, and their clinical data and imaging studies were analyzed retrospectively.

Results: Twenty-six anterior and 14 posterior circulation aneurysms were treated. Four aneurysms were on the cavernous internal carotid artery, 13 were on the distal internal carotid artery, 6 were on the anterior communicating artery complex, 2 were on the middle cerebral artery, 3 were on the posteroinferior cerebellar artery, 1 was at the vertebrobasilar junction, 3 were on the superior cerebellar artery, 4 were at the basilar apex, 2 were on the posterior cerebral artery, and 1 was on the distal vertebral artery. Two pseudoaneurysms-one on the petrocavernous segment of the internal carotid artery and one on the distal VA-also were treated. The median time until recurrence was 6 months. Thirty-one aneurysms were clip-ligated, and six were treated with trapping. Three extracranial-intracranial bypasses were performed. One aneurysm was treated with muslin wrapping. Two aneurysms required the use of surgical approaches that involved hypothermic circulatory arrest. Nine aneurysms required coil mass extraction and/or complex vascular reconstruction to complete lesion obliteration. All aneurysms except the single wrapped aneurysm were successfully excluded from the intracranial circulation. Two deaths occurred as a result of the operative procedures, and another patient died as a result of subarachnoid hemorrhage-induced massive myocardial infarction. Ultimately, 86.8% of patients achieved an excellent or good recovery.

Conclusion: With endovascular therapy assuming an increasing role in the treatment of patients with intracranial aneurysms, more lesions that are refractory to initial treatment will require surgical management. Our experience indicates that good results are attainable, although technical challenges are frequently encountered.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / mortality
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed